Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 67
Matthew:16:13-20 Peter 's Confession of Christ
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:16:5-12 The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
What is God doing?
"Whom do men say that I the Son of man am"?
The second most important comes first. In one sense, what should it matter what other people think? They have not been with the man every step of the way. They have not heard nor seen nor experienced everything as these men had. Their belief is largely a product of what everyone else was saying, what everyone else had corrupted the meaning of all this as being, what everyone else expected Jesus to do and be and become; none of which bore any spiritual resemblance. Yet men, even dedicated and discipled men are pulled and swayed. The context away can outweigh the context inside.
It is important for these men to know and to verbalize what they have been brought to believe. God already knows their hearts. This question is for them to benefit from and for Jesus then to add even greater revelation on top of.
"Whom say ye that I am"?
This is the question of primary importance. These men have been heavily invested in by their master. The time is drawing very close for the events of prophecy to take full hold. There will be many twist and turns ahead that these men have yet to expect
"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it".
The universal church divides sharply on the interpretation of this one verse. Jesus certainly is aware how steep the divide will one day be yet He divulges it in this figurative language anyway. Essentially it is to become a testing point whether it means Peter will be the "rock" or whether revealed knowledge will. From this interpretation will come the debate between papal authority versus apostolic, traditions role alongside of scripture, a living document verses strict cannon, eastern verses roman verses protestant, doctrines of grace/works/sacraments/baptism/church membership/anathema/etc... All indication is that the all knowing Father has told all knowing Jesus to say this and to say it this way.
"I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven"
Much of the interpretation will be based upon the simple interpretation of "will give". When will HE give? What will HE give (what are the keys)? If now and if Peter, can the keys be passed down? need the keys be passed down? And again what are these keys? The keys see become the point where some would justify papal infallibility and other most contentious points of doctrine.
"Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ".
A point should be made concerning revelation knowledge. Jesus forbids the disciples at this point telling others Jesus is Christ. Several reason may exist, one that Jesus has yet to complete the work that would reveal Himself best to the rest of the world, another that there is a tricky point where revelation knowledge is no longer revelation if just simply stated person to person. For those few disciples where this world wide message would first start, it is absolutely crucial that this planting of pure revelation first be planted because of man's corruption otherwise.
What is man doing?
Good company to be held in no doubt, but remember that none of these forefathers where treated at the time with any respect. People tend to memorialize saints of the past, but have great difficulty with the saints of the present; this true of any age. I guess that in so doing one can remember the saint for what they want to remember them for (what serves them best) and not for the person/message they actually represent. It is not like the people take the message and learn from it never again to sin or take offense, rather it largely all the same with the same discomfort and the same corruption. Scripture alone keeps the better image of these saints alive, scripture cannot be halted, therefore memorial is the common way to at least contain the public's perception.
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God".
With each passing day it will become more and more evident: Jesus is the Son of the living God. No one other can be presented sinless/unblemished/untarnished. No one else can be said so loving and so obedient even unto the giving of His own life to take upon Himself our death. No other person ever has been so attested to by the Father and so despised and rejected by those that thought they'd known God the best. What did they really know?
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven"
It seems to me that the interpretation of the "rock" and the "keys" is all important here. If the "rock" and "keys" are what the various majorities have made them to be, then what they have bound here on earth is a whole lot of trouble that likely would not be accepted as binding in Heaven. When/what/how has become them/now/by virtue of how good they see themselves and their institution and how good the rest of us are not; the opposite so it seems of what most saints would agree to be the direction that the Lord through this figurative language would better intend to steer us.
It is a testing point indeed!
Next: devotion:Matthew:16:21-28 Jesus Predicts His Death