“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:15-18.
This week we have been taking a trip back in time and imagining that we are walking along the dusty road to Jerusalem with Jesus and His followers. We have been considering what those in the crowd might have been thinking as they journeyed.
Can’t you just see Peter? I am sure that he was staying as close to Jesus as he could, making sure that there was no danger. He probably was thinking of how his relationship with Jesus had its difficulties. In the scripture above, we see him boldly declaring that Jesus was the Son of God, the Promised One. Jesus called Peter blessed because he had received this revelation and promised He would use him to build the church.
When we read this same conversation in Mark 8, we see that immediately after this strong declaration, Jesus began to teach about what was coming and Peter rebuked the Lord. Jesus answered by telling Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”
Was Peter remembering this conversation and in his mind thinking that the Lord could depend on him to always be strong? Little he knew, how soon his faith would be tested. In John 13:37, we read “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” Jesus answered him: “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”
Jesus had a special plan for Peter and all His teaching and dealings with Peter were to prepare him for that position. Everything that he went through was for the purpose of strengthening him and making him the man the Lord wanted him to be.
We may never be a Peter, and a leader in the church like he was in the Book of Acts. But God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives. Whatever he allows in our lives, is part of His plan to make us and shape us after His will. Like Peter, we will have our difficulties, our failures, and our successes. The important thing is to stay faithful to the Lord, abide in His Word, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, we can identify with bold, impetuous Peter, we make mistakes, and we falter along the way. But we are thankful for your patience and forgiveness, and we desire to be the person you want us to be.
Devotion by Anne Johnston