In Jesus’ Words: The Rock and the Denier (Matthew 26: 31-35)

I would bet that each of us have been like Peter at least once in our lives.  Before Peter became the Rock, which was the name Jesus promised him earlier, he was the Denier.  It was probably the lowest point in Peter’s life.  He was in agony over what he had done.  He denied his friend and Lord when Jesus needed him most.  In his mind, he had failed.  Thankfully for all of us, Peter didn’t stay that way.  And neither should we.

As I read this story where Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him, a few thoughts crossed my mind.

Jesus never stopped loving Peter even as He told Peter what he was about to do, even in His greatest hour of need.  How many times have we failed someone when they needed us?  Jesus understands our human nature and He still loves us.  He can still use us.

Interestingly, after Jesus tells the disciples that they will fall away, He tells them, “after he is resurrected, He will meet them in Galilee.”  Did they not catch that part?  Jesus is telling them He will be resurrected and plans to see them again, but they’re so obsessed over telling Jesus they will never run away from Him that they don’t see the future.  How often are we preoccupied over something we did and miss Jesus’ most important words – words of hope and the future?

Jesus knows knows we all fail from time-to-time.  That is why Jesus came.  We need a Savior – someone who can help us when we can’t help ourselves.  Jesus came to save (future), not condemn (past).  Stop looking back, stop focusing on what went wrong, and look at what Jesus is saying.  He wants to lead you forward, not backward.

~ Peter’s Denial Predicted  Matthew 26:31-35  ~

Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written:

I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!”

“I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

“Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.

In Jesus’ Words: The Prophet, the Messiah and the Rock (Matthew 16:13-19)

who-do-you-say

Who is Jesus?  Who is the Messiah?  Who or what is the Rock?

 

 

 

 

This small passage in the book of Matthew reveals a lot and questions a lot.

~ Peter and The Messiah  Matthew 13:16-19 ~

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

“Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.”

Even today, some people call Jesus a prophet.  During Jesus’ time, people knew he was more than an ordinary prophet and thought he must be one of the great prophets who had come back to life.  How else could they explain Jesus?  But Jesus did not answer the disciples by saying he was a prophet.

Whether you believe Jesus as the Messiah or not is up to you, but the one thing Jesus never is – just a prophet.  That is a weak compromise which means nothing to any faith.  Either Jesus is who he said he was, validated by Peter as revealed to him through God and witnessed by all the disciples, or, Jesus was just a very good man.  There is no in between and no reason for it.  Jesus as just a prophet means nothing to the Jews.  Jesus as a prophet means nothing to the religion of Islam because only Mohammed matters in their faith.  Jesus as a prophet to other non-Christians means no more than any other teacher or philosopher.  And prophets die.  None of these ideas of a prophet will make a difference in your eternal fate.

Jesus also said Peter was the rock on which he would build his church.  Catholics take this to mean that Peter was to be the leader (first pope) of the one church.  I’m not sure about the titles, but Peter was certainly blessed and had a very special purpose in bringing the message of Christ to the rest of the world.  What is most important to remember is that Peter had a great faith and he acted on it!  And because of that, Jesus’ church and family now includes all those who follow Jesus as the Messiah, their Savior.  The church is not a building or a denomination or even following a certain preacher, but a faith built on the cornerstone rock of Jesus Christ.

And the forces of Hades will not overpower it.