Today is special for the confirmation candidates as well as for all of us. You may have been confirmed long, long time ago, but whenever there is a confirmation service, this serves as a good reminder for all of us: the baptism vows we took during our baptism, as well the confirmation vows… what we have done from that point. And as we look back, and for those who are confirmed today, we move forward together. There are some reminders for all of us.
The two passages for today’s readings are just appropriate. (Matthew 16:21-27 and Romans 12:1-8) Jesus took His disciples from Galilee all the way up north to Philippi Caesarea. (Matthew 16:21-27) If you travel by coach, that is one and half hour journey. And if you walk by foot, it may take more than half a day. And Jesus took the disciples all the way to the north to ask them, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
And the disciples offered some answers they knew. They knew what the people are thinking about Jesus. And then Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?’ And I think you are very familiar with the answer. Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus told the disciples, and He is telling us all today, that He had to go to Jerusalem to die for all of us. And Jesus challenged the disciples, and He is doing right now: “Take up your cross and follow Me.” As we move on as Christians, there are lots of lessons for us. We have to keep learning and moving in serving Him and His people.
And the epistle reading for today is Romans 12. This is a familiar passage. But as you come to verse 1 of chapter 12 – “I beseech you, therefore…”
Whenever you read therefore, in Paul’s epistles, it doesn’t come out of the blue. You should go back and find it – the link, before the “therefore.” Just like we approach any book of the Bible.
This is an excerpt from Rev. Samuel Sia’s sermon on Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-17 about “Living Sacrifice” on August 31, 2014. Listen to the complete sermon in English or in Hokkien.
(Visit sspmanila.org to access Sunday worship sermons for the past 3 months and other audio resources.)