Saturday 29 June 2013

Bible Book:

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'" (vv. 15-16)

Matthew 16:13-19 Saturday 29 June 2013


Peter gets into trouble so often for his over eagerness and lackof thinking things through, that it is easy to forget the rock-likecore to his discipleship.

In Matthew's Gospel a lot has happened by the time we get tochapter 16. Peter and the other disciples have heard a lot ofteaching, seen lives transformed and spent a lot of time withJesus. Yet still there is the question of who exactly Jesusis.

Tied up in that question "But who do you say that I am?" is howpeople of that time understood the word "Messiah" - possibly thatis why Jesus rarely used the word himself. If the way a word isgenerally understood has changed then 'restoring' it is verydifficult - we can think of many examples today (cool, wicked, andsick come immediately to mind).

It appears that "Messiah" had come to be understood in a politicaland military way that was quite different to what Jesus thought heshould be about. Maybe Peter clarifies his use of Messiah as "theSon of the Living God" to show that he really does 'get' what Jesusis about.

When Peter shows that he really does 'get' it (in my nerdy computerprogramming days we would say when Peter really grokedJesus) then Jesus recognises it this and responds by praisingPeter and giving him huge authority.

It makes me wonder what words we use that have changed theirmeaning and no longer adequately describe Jesus or his disciples.Perhaps we need to change our language to make it obvious to Jesusthat we really do 'get' him and what words we should be using tochallenge the world around us with the gospel message (goodnews).

To Ponder

  • Which words have changed their meaning so that you are nolonger comfortable using them to describe Jesus or your faith?
  • Which words do you use to describe your discipleship, yourallegiance to God that others may no longer understand as youdo?
  • In which areas do you think people around us misunderstand whoJesus is and what the gospel is about? What can be done aboutit?
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