February 15, 2016
I’m certain that I’ve made every bone-headed mistake and poor choice that all the people in the Bible made. And I’ve somehow found favor in the sight of the Lord. I’ve had lack of faith, and I’ve been a hero of faith. Been in the valley of the shadow of death, and watched the glory of the Lord pass by the cleft of the rock. Been there, done that.
I think that’s why I want to read between the lines in the Bible. I don’t want to add to the Bible, but we are still talking about Adam and Eve and David and Mary and Peter and Paul thousands of years later, and I wonder what it was like to be them.
We are studying Peter in service. He’s so unlikely. Unlikely to become who he became. He was just a fisherman and became a fisher of men. Peter adamantly denied that he would ever fall away from his friend Jesus, then Peter denied even knowing Jesus 3 times before sun up. How did this Peter become such a proclaimer of faith?
I imagine there’s more to the story than what is written. Surely the disciples had some time when Jesus wasn’t right with them. What did they talk about when Jesus was out of earshot? After seeing so many miracles and healings and listening to Jesus’s teachings and insights, did they whisper to each other “how can Jesus say those things? How can Jesus know those things? How does Jesus do those things?” I imagine they may have whispered their questions and suspicions about who this Jesus really was.
So what happened when Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”(Matthew 16) . I suspect many of them already believed Jesus was the Christ, but they were each afraid to be the one to say it out loud, so they suggested that people think Jesus might be John the Baptist and Elijah and Jeremiah and other prophets. Then Simon, before he became known as Peter, spoke up. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew face-planted in his palms. Thomas the doubter muttered under his breath “I. Cannot. Believe. He. Said. That!” And John’s eyes shot over to Andrew who was supposed to keep Simon Peter from saying stupid stuff. But then Jesus! “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”” Matthew 16:17-19.
I like to think that if my Lord and Savior announced that kind of major blessing on the person sitting right next me because he spoke up when I was to timid, I would be thrilled for that person. If the PowerBall winner was the guy who broke in line in front of me and got the computer generated numbers that should have gone to me, I’d like to think I’d be gracious and wish the man well. But I know myself better than that.
I’m sure if I was Luke, the physician, I’d be thinking “I’m the smartest one here. I shoulda spoken up. I shoulda gotten that blessing.” And John was convinced that he was more beloved by Jesus than the others, so imagine how he felt when Simon was renamed Peter, the Rock, and was given the keys of the kingdom. And maybe this was just too much for insecure Judas to handle. “I knew it. I knew Jesus would never see me as more than just a thief. He will never bless me. That’s alright. I’ll still get mine.”
That disgruntled discontent and jealousy divides. I’ve seen it with my girls when despite knowing Paul and I love each of them, they bicker and belittle and undercut each other.
How many times have I walked into the living room when the girls are fussing. “WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON IN HERE?!”
And really isn’t that the problem? I know at least in my own home, we are too much in the world. We focus on our own hurt feelings and wonder why someone else got the blessing, completely forgetting our own blessings from just minutes before.
But the Gospel focus is on God in Heaven. His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Not in my living room most days, but that’s His heart for my family. His will was never for Peter to be glorified for speaking up impulsively with the right answer. His will was for Jesus to be glorified on earth just as He is in Heaven.