I love this fall season—the colors so vibrant in the sunshine. Throughout the summer, trees blend together in shades of green. But this time of year, one by one, trees and bushes shout out, “Look at me!” Some leaves turn bright yellow, others vivid orange.
We have burning bushes in our yard and several yards around us. Right now they are all set aflame with fiery red. It’s their turn to shine!
And so it was with Peter. It was his time to shine.
Jesus and the disciples had traveled far north to Caesarea Philippi, named for Caesar and Herod’s son Philip, a dark place. The people had heard only minimal teachings of Jesus and seen hardly any miracles. Perhaps the disciples had mingled among the people which led Jesus to ask two questions. (Matthew 16:13-20)
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?
One disciple reports,
“Some say, John the Baptist.”
“Others say Elijah.”
A third disciple speaks up,
“And still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Perhaps Jesus pokes the campfire where they are warming themselves, lays his stick down, and looks at those on his left intently.
“But what about you?” (Then to those on his right side) “Who do you say I am?
Was there a moment of silence? If so, I don’t think it was long before Peter spoke with gentle sincerity.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The fire crackles. All eyes turn to Jesus. Everyone holds their breath.
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”
Pure victory for Peter. His time had come. His time to shine!
Jesus goes on to talk about two words for “rock.” In the Greek, “Peter” is petros which means detached stone and “rock” is petra which means bedrock. Jesus says,
“I tell you that you are Peter (detached stone) and on this rock (bedrock) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (hell) will not overcome it.”
Christ will build the church on this declaration of faith. Peter will come to be a part, a detached piece, of that bedrock of faith. Let us rejoice in his declaration and learn to declare it ourselves, that Jesus is the Christ, the Promised One, the Son of the living God!
~ Joyce ~