13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
14"Well," they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets." 15Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being." NLT
1 Corinthians 12
3So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. NLT
One of the most important lessons that we need to learn is that the discernment of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not gained through argumentation or human reasoning, but rather by divine revelation. The apostle Paul learned this lesson in his debates and discussions with the learned Greek philosophers on Mars Hill. He saw the futility of "matching wits" in these ever popular Greek forums. He describes his journey in these words below as he shares how he finally learned the most essential lesson of his ministry:
1 Corinthians 2
1Dear brothers and sisters, when I first came to you I didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God's message. 2For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. 3I came to you in weakness--timid and trembling. 4And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. 5I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom. NLT
Evidently by the time Paul ministered to the Corinthians he had come to see the futility of depending upon human persuasion and the utter power of preaching Jesus and Him crucified under the unction of the Holy Spirit. Even a casual reading of the Book of Acts shows us how powerful was the simple message of Jesus crucified and risen as the apostles preached it. People were saved and also healed in the natural course of things. So should it be today.
These scriptures speak to my heart very deeply. I must learn to wait upon God for His wisdom and the empowerment and discernment imparted by the Holy Spirit, that I may truly find the "pearl of great price" and never let it go. Learned theological discussions do not satisfy the deepest longings of my heart but I never tire at listening to the "old, old story of Jesus and His love." I can listen to gospel preaching over and over again, listen to uplifting gospel songs again and again, read the same scriptures repeatedly and always feel refreshed and renewed in my inner man. The "old, old story" for me is ever a "new" story that feeds my soul as nothing else on the face of the earth has ever done. I would share this joy with every person on the face of the earth if this were possible. So I seek to be a vessel that God can fill with His Holy Spirit that I can bear witness in my life to the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Written by Tom Durst of Spokane WA