Matthew 16:13-15 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
God spoke to Moses, God told him, This is who I am, and this is what you are to say to the people. But God doesnít come to us in a burning bush, or in the fire on the mountain. How are we to know who God is? Jesus taught the disciples, he showed them the Father, he explained to them Godís plan of salvation. He showed them signs and wonders. He told them stories. And by word and deed he taught them about God, about himself, and about the way of salvation which is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We can not see Jesus in the same way that they did. He may be with us everyday. He may be present at every meal. He may be watching over us in our travels, our journeys and our work, but its not the same as it was with the disciples. The risen Jesus does not appear to us, nor do we hear his voice. How are we to know who he is? How are we to learn the way of salvation? How are we to learn the danger of sin, so that we might turn from it? We are not born with this knowledge. How can we know?
By ourselves we can not know. But God does not leave us by ourselves. God gave us parents, and they are the first line teachers of the faith. How do we know this? Godís Word tells us:
Eph 6:4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
When can you find the time? In the morning, in the evening, at meals, and on the way, at all the times we are together, these are the opportunities to teach. God gives us his Word, we teach it to our children, and they teach it to their children, and so the Word is passed on from generation to generation, for while we may have other teachers along the way, God puts it in parents hands:
Psalm 78:5-7 He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Sometimes this may seem overwhelming, and often the question comes, What shall I say? The answers do not come in dreams or visions, it does not happen simply by the passing of years, but the overwhelming questions come, as God seeks to guide us back to the Word, and to our regular study of His Word, and the way of salvation and the plan, not just for our childrenís lives, but for our lives as well. God wants us not to trust in ourselves, but to turn to Him, and trust in Him, and to trust in His Word, and so to learn and study His Word that we may be equipped with all the answers we need, for children have many questions. One of Godís most remarkable promises, is that we can come to him, and ask for wisdom, and God will give us wisdom. For knowledge is knowing things, but wisdom is knowing what to do with knowledge, and this is a gift of God.
Parents are the first line teachers, but there are others who also help, Sunday School Teachers, Pastors, and many others are guides examples and teachers. We give thanks for the work they have done for us, and we ask that they might help us to do what has been laid out before us. You see, Jesus still speaks to us today, perhaps not in the same way as he did when he walked with the disciples, but we hear him all the same: "But who do you say that I am?"
And then we realize that our whole life is a witness to our faith. And we look at all the things that fill our days, and as we consider each one, we hear the voice asking us: "But who do you say that I am?" And as we look at our lives, we find that often we have not been very good about saying that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and the center of our life. And seeing our sin, we turn from it and turn to God to ask for forgiveness. And then it is that we hear God saying who we are. Be of good cheer, son and daughter, for in the blood of Jesus Christ, all your sins are forgiven, and my love will never end. While we know that we ought tell everyone about our Lord and Savior, it is not the law that moves us, but the grace of being forgiven, and thankful hearts, that move us to serve our Lord.