Picture the scene. John the Baptizer is dead. Jesus with His team of disciples have been travelling in Galilee and surrounding areas, healing the sick, freeing those oppressed by evil spirits and teaching on subjects as varied as persecution, faith and repentance.
Jesus has changed water to wine, walked on water and miraculously fed 5000 people. Before during and after theses adventures Jesus has told many stories, parables that grab the imagination and hang on until the heart and mind absorb them. Life changing stories.
What do you understand?
After one such story (Matthew 15:15) Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us”. And he said, “Are you also still without understanding?” Jesus then goes on to explain the parable. The parable offended the Pharisees and all the disciples knew it! (vs12)
I like to understand stuff. I don’t like doing anything without getting to grips with the detail. I get why Peter wanted more information. Jesus was challenging deeply held beliefs and traditions, Jesus was saying things that could lead down a dangerous path. A path that could lead to imprisonment and rejection. Peter could see this, he could not align this path with the ‘Messiah’ concept he had been taught and whom he had been eagerly waiting for. I do not understand, Peter did not understand! Yet he knew Jesus, he had seen the miracles, experienced the compassion, known the authority.
Who do you know?
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they said, “Some say John the Baptizer, others say Elijah, and other Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
Yet with all Peter’s confusion, with his lack of understanding, with his doubts, fears, misconceptions Peter was able to say with confidence – You are the Messiah, you are the one we have been waiting for, you are the Son of God, you are God.
Paul wrote to the Ephesian church “You have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what we are.” (Eph 2:8-10)
If you know Jesus to be Messiah, to be Saviour. If you know Jesus it is as a result of God’s revelation. Oftentimes God reveals to us, sows faith in our heart without providing the corresponding understanding. Why is that?
On this rock!
The purposes of God in Peter’s life were based upon a personal revelation of God. His lack of understanding does not get in the way of God’s revelation.
Questions (feel free to comment)
- Do I feel like I am equipped to serve because of specific skills or understanding?
- What is my attitude towards the Bible? Textbook? Source of understanding? Revelation of Jesus?
- Do I feel that Jesus must fit into my preconceptions in order to be the real Messiah?
Part 2 of ‘Jesus Only’ will be posted early next week.