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God makes it possible for everyone to come to faith in spite of the shortcomings of sin. The welcome for any who want to believe in Jesus comes generously and is fully guaranteed. A future free from the sting of death is part of the assurance. What an offer! Jn6

Israel 2014 IFL 079Weaving through the Golan Heights, modern reminders of the ravages of war were common along the side of the road.  Blown out buildings, wreckage of lost armored vehicles and warnings of live mine fields give a sobering reminder that people in this region are at odds with each other.  Cattle seem to oblivious to the barriers that divide fields filled with delicious grazing and others with explosives buried just below the surface of the ground.

Then, our bus catches up with several other modern comfort liners.  We wait our turn to enter into another important Biblical site.  The rain is coming stronger, the wind is blowing a bit stiffer and pilgrims never complain but cinch up their parkas and huddle out to the site right behind our tour guide.

Our Caramel Bus 11 group huddles off the beaten track in a designated seating area.  The head waters of the Jordan River bubble up from a spring and head south to feed into the Sea of Galilee.  Mt. Hermon looms behind us.

Israel 2014 IFL 082This is a sacred site for Christians.  Jesus was here in His day.  He gathered His disciples and asked them a telling question, “Who do people say that I am?”

His disciples give a cross section of popular opinion.  Some believe Jesus is a prophet.  Others think that He is John the Baptist.  Yet, others believe that He is Elijah.

Most important to Jesus is who His disciples believe that He is.  This is when Peter offers his own opinion.  Peter confesses that he believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus commends Peter, assuring him that His confession was a revelation to him from God the Father.  It was a truth that Peter believed.  This declaration shaped Peter’s life and the lives of believers who came after him.

Knowing that this watershed moment occurred in this place called Caesarea Philippi, gave us all pause.  It is right to wonder if we are living our lives of faith based on convictions of our beliefs.  Too often Christians misunderstand that it is more important to believe than it is to know.

A confession is about what we truly accept as truth.   We understand it and embrace it as conviction.  It shapes our values because it is what we believe.

What do you know about your faith?  Can you distinguish that from what you sincerely believe?  It is not about what you know but far more about what you believe.

photo credit: brucefong photography.