One day soon, Peter will deny he ever knew Jesus. But at this moment, he’s chosen to be the foundation upon which the future church will rest. Peter, in a sure spot? He was a nail driven into spackle! Is Jesus being ironic when he calls him a rock? In just a few more verses (see verse 23), Jesus will call Peter the devil.
Jesus is Lord – but also a realist. Human nature is soft, like the flesh that contains it, and there truly is no better choice among the Twelve than Peter. From this impulsive, unschooled, self-preserving fisherman, God will raise up the rafters of a church that will see twenty centuries and more. Not because Peter is great, but because God is. Not much can be built on flesh, as frail and uncertain as human beings are. But through the Spirit which gives the church its breath, the reign of God keeps on coming on earth as it is in heaven.
What part of your Christian commitment is like rock? What part is flesh?
Spend time with God the Mystery. Without words, prayer aids, or the usual props, sit in silence and let God’s ‘unknowability’ find you. Seek to be known, and not to know.
‘And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock’.
The Scripture (Matthew 16: 13-16 Peter’s Declaration about Jesus)
When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some think he is John the Baptiser, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets’. He pressed them, ‘And how about you? Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter said, ‘You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God’.
If we were asked ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ what would we say? Have we ever really thought about it? It is not an answer found in a catechism; it is an answer that needs to come from our hearts. This week, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah for all to hear. We need to have that same bold faith that Jesus as the Messiah is the centre of our lives.
As we grow in a personal relationship with this living Christ, we come to know him in an intimate way. It is what our Protestant friends call ‘accepting Jesus as our personal Saviour’.
Only when Peter declared who Jesus was did Jesus reveal Peter’s potential. Perhaps we should take a clue from this exchange. When we acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and work at a relationship with him, we are transformed by that relationship and we receive the grace to become more than we ever thought possible. Jesus is waiting for us to follow Peter’s lead. As a faith community this week, ask each other the question, ‘Who is Jesus for me?’ and start living like you believe it.
Go to the world. God will change your attitude and set you to work!
We go with minds open to receive new truth; we go with spirits attuned to God’s challenging Word; we go with hearts moved to act with compassion; we go as disciples ready to follow Jesus, the Way.
God goes with you!
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