Many of the lessons Jesus taught the disciples did not take root until after His ascension and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Matthew and Mark’s account of the transfiguration is one of those lessons. The Master Teacher first gave the test, then He taught the lesson.
Jesus began by asking the disciples a question. “… Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Matt 16:13. After listening to the disciples throw out a few names that were rumored among the people, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Matt 16:15. One disciple quickly responded with the correct answer. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt 16:16. Jesus confirmed the answer was correct and emphasized to Peter “for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matt 16:17.
At this point, the test ends and the lesson begins. I imagine the disciples were still filled with the joy of knowing that the one they had left everything to follow was actually the Christ, the promised Messiah. Like all Israelites, the dis-ciples believed the Messiah would restore the earthly kingdom of David. (Acts 1:6) In fact, some of the disciples had already decided what position they desired to hold in the coming earthly kingdom. (Matt 20:20-21; Mark 10:35-37)
While the disciples pondered over their future in the pending kingdom, Jesus continued the lesson. He advised his twelve students that in the coming days He would suffer many things. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Matt 16:21. Peter’s rebuke of the Lord (Matt 16:22) is further evidence the disciples did not grasp the meaning of the Lord’s teaching at this time.
If I had to list the things I need to work on in my life, my faith and fitness would rank near the top. Perhaps because they both require exercise and the results usually don’t come instantly. I heard Pastor Rick Warren say one of his members approached him and stated he was trying to lose weight and needed a miracle. Pastor Rick said he advised him he didn’t need a miracle, he needed a diet. I can relate to both – the member and Pastor Rick.
But before you turn the page on our Inaugural Faith and Fitness Month, let me put your mind, and body at ease. The goal of this ministry event is not to make you exercise, but to encourage all shipmates to be proactive in embracing a healthier lifestyle. Brother Banks states, “Fellowship and fitness are a way to improve the quality of life for all ages regardless of abilities or disabilities.” So, relax. You can exhale now.
Similar to the Olympics, only on a smaller scale, the Athletic Ministry has organized a slate of low impact (walking relay) to no impact (bid whist/spades, etc.) games for our Seasoned Saints and medium impact (horseshoes, softball throw) to moderate impact (basketball and dodgeball) games for our younger saints (men, women and youth). So, get in where you fit in.
The games are designed to provide a social recreation experience which has a by-product of a healthier lifestyle. In other words, work is not work if you enjoy what you’re doing. This ministry event seeks to motivate all generations of shipmates to get off the couch and become active in doing what you enjoy. Chances are, someone else in your generation enjoys the same thing. The only thing needed is for someone to set up the blind date and make the introduction. This month of activities sets up the dates and makes the introductions.
The Seasoned Saints kickoff the games Saturday morning, September 8, and conclude the evening with a free “Jazzy Senior Social Prom, Mardi Gras Style” that night. The Cajun French would say: “laissez les bon temps rouler.” Translation – Let the good times roll! Although the attire is semi-formal, follow your mo-jo and come formal if that’s your flava.
This month of health and fitness reinforces a spiritual discipline we learned in our recent Bible Study Series ‘The Holiness of God.’ Old Testament (OT) scripture gives the blueprint for the Tabernacle, God’s initial earthly dwelling place. Scripture also addresses the Holy items set aside and totally dedicated to His service. The Tabernacle was God’s magnificent portrait of what was to come for New Testament saints. Our bodies are now the dwelling place of our Holy God. And just like the Tabernacle and the items contained therein, our bodies are now dedicated to His service. I am always amazed at how God uses the natural to explain the supernatural.
Now back to Faith and Fitness Month. Pastor Morgan’s desire is to kindle a fire within the Ship to become a healthy body of believers who not only have the Word of God in our hearts but are also physically able to answer the Lord’s call. “Whom shall I send? And who shall go for us?” And I said, “here am I, send me!” Isaiah 6:8.
Perhaps now is the time to insert the essential point behind Pastor Rick’s response to his member. “God reserves miracles for the things we can’t do.” Many of our prayers concerning health issues have already been answered. The rest is up to us. It’s time to get off the couch (watching tv, playing video games, etc.) and get active.
Written by Henry Hopson, Jr.