When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Matthew 16:13-21
A few weeks ago I was speaking in Church about building blocks. Building Blocks are the knowledge or skills we need to have before we can move forward. I told of fly fishing. Never got the building blocks down for that activity! Like myself and fly fishing, some times we don't like to do the work we need to get those building blocks well in hand.
Ex. Did you know that much of the early church had three years of training for adults before baptism. Makes sense, none of Jesus’ disciples ate at the last supper until they had had three years with our Lord. I have met your priests and they aren't nearly as good at teaching as the Lord!
What was Jesus teaching? Firstly, he taught who he was. The Ven. Bede noted that, Jesus had often referred to himself as the Son of Man, but, Nathanael, the "what good can come out of Nazareth" guy, called him the Son of God. Each name opened a door to understand this Jesus person. So when did Jesus think they were ready for the big lesson? When Peter professed “You are the Christ (Son of Man), the Son of the living God”. Fully human-fully divine. Once they had that down, Jesus could lay on them why he was here!
Then Jesus tells them how the love of God is to be show in human form, by complete self-giving on the cross. Not that there is danger ahead, but that he is going to walk right into it. Certain death. "Woe" says Peter that’s not the happy ending of a messiah.
William Willimon lets us know where that "Woe" comes from when he says, “To help us avoid the cross, our theologies first minimize our participation in evil, and then inflate our possibilities for goodness. Evil is explained away as a temporary disorder of personality or a quirk in the political system. Sinfulness, personal or corporate, is but a matter of maladjustment that can be cured through some minor psychological or sociological tinkering -- I’m O.K. and you’re O.K.... Unable to be obedient or courageous, we are content to be decent. Don’t worry about what is good; it’s enough simply to do what works. If we or Peter follow Jesus to the cross, you can be sure that we will be protesting all the way. Here is a path nobody wants to take, a burden no balanced person would willingly assume.” Willimon
Why? For glory, God the father’s glory, for the kingdom to come. Strange words, but his followers would have heard those before, like poetic imagery of Daniel 7, Isaiah 53.5, son of man must suffer, afterwards, freedom for God’s people. He is telling those that follow his work and destiny is as Israel's representative. Part of the freedom corp!
We are to be in step with Jesus, to live, think, walk, talk like God, even when the world thinks it absolutely crazy. Jesus is telling us that God's glory and power are to come through love and self-giving. That's weird by the world's standards. The Oxford dict. might define power and glory a little differently.
So saying "Thy kingdom come..." is pretty radical. As N.T. Wright would put it “not a pleasant afternoon hike, but on a life-affirming walk into danger and risk. Or did we suppose that the kingdom of God would mean merely a few minor adjustments in our ordinary lives?”
In joy,Fr. Craig
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