Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Matthew 16: 13-18
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
There is an interesting fad happening in our culture. Companies like Ancestry.com are offering the opportunity for you to discover ancestral roots through DNA testing. Once you’ve submitted your DNA sample the company will send you results that link you to historical records, and subsequently give you access to your family history from which most modern people have been disconnected. As the Ancestry.com slogan says, “Every record holds a story”.
Stories matter. Stories help us understand the world around us and often help us find our place our historical moment. For most of human history, humans easily knew their family history because generations lived close together and their stories were known and retold regularly. But in our modern age, families are likely to have been separated in the pursuit of opportunity. According to a survey in Bloomberg, less than 60% of people live in the same state in which they were born.
In Matthew 16, Jesus is connecting Himself to the bigger story of God while also casting a vision for the future of the church that will live on after his death and resurrection. For the first time in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus identifies himself as the Messiah, the promised King to redeem Israel and all the world. The disciples are living in THE transformational moment in human history that had been promised for hundreds of years. They knew the story of God and knew that Jesus was about to change everything. Though not as they expected. Jesus was marking their place in the story.
And with his next breath, Jesus commissions the next chapter that will be written. He declares that his disciple Simon, now to be called Peter (which in Greek means “rock”), would become the foundation upon which Jesus’ church would be built. The future story of the church was secure, and it would be told and retold in those who become Jesus’ disciples for generations. You live in the continuation of a story thousands of years old and still very much alive today.
Are you familiar with your family story? How do you feel about the family legacy you are living in today?
How often do you consider the bigger story of God passed down to you? Do you feel a part of God’s story?
What is the unique story we are being called into today as Jesus’ disciples?
What is the significance of being connected to a bigger story? What is the gift of that story? What is the challenge?
Spend some time praying for one another. For those who have a challenging family history, pray for God’s grace and healing. Remember that God relates to us as a Father. Pray for all of us to enter into the story God is writing right now.