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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: April 22, 2024

To have saving faith in Jesus Christ is to have faith in two things–who Jesus is and what He has come to do. And in our reading from Luke 9 today, Peter shows us the dangers of only confessing one. Peter confesses the nature of Jesus. He confesses Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God. But when the Christ takes Him up the mount of transfiguration and speaks with Moses and Elijah about His exodus to Jerusalem, about His journey to the cross, Peter wants nothing to do with this. Just as He rebuked Jesus for this suffering and death speech in Matthew’s Gospel, so Peter is again seeking to dissuade Jesus from that miserable fate. “Don’t go to Calvary. Stay up here on this mountain of glory. We’ll build tents for you, Elijah and Moses. We don’t need to go back down into that world of suffering and blood.” That’s essentially what Peter is saying.

But a Savior who doesn’t bleed for you is no savior at all. And the Son of God didn’t take on human flesh as a magic trick. He didn’t become incarnate simply to show that He could. He did it to take your sins and sorrows upon His own head, to keep the law in your place, to die the death you earned so that He could clothe you in the eternal life He had earned. And Jesus had the authority to do this because He is divine. Only God can forgive sins, and upon the cross, God in the flesh poured out that forgiveness upon you, the same God who has now given that sin-forgiving authority to His church.

So there is no salvation in a crucified Jesus who is not the eternal second person of the Trinity. There is no salvation in the Jesus of the Arians, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, the Oneness Pentecostals. And there is no salvation in the Jesus who is crucified for nothing. There is no salvation in a Jesus who merely wins for you the opportunity to merit your own salvation, nor is there salvation in the Jesus who goes to Calvary but who affirms your sins, who calls you to remain in your homosexuality, your adultery, your greed, your violence, your bitterness and hatred or whatever other sins the lost of this world want to call righteous.

Turn from these false messiahs and confess the true Messiah, the true Savior, the eternal Son of God who won every ounce of your salvation as a free gift upon the cross. Cling to the true Christ, and the transfiguration glory Peter, James, and John saw atop that mountain will be your eternal possession.

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