When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, â€œWho do people say the Son of man is?â€
They replied, â€œSome say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.â€
â€œBut what about you?â€ he asked. â€œWho do you say I am?â€
Simon Peter answered, â€œYou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.â€
Jesus replied, â€œBlessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, 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 gate of Hades will not overcome it.â€ Matthew 16:13-18 (NIV)
Ah, Peter, one of my favorite people in the Bible. In this passage, Jesus first calls him, Simon, reminding him that he is just a man. He is born from a man and yet spoke the right answer; those profound words, but not out of his own ability and wisdom. No, Simon spoke by the power of God. And it was because of the transforming power of God that Simon became Peter, the rock. On that rock Jesus’ Church would be built. Hell itself and all its schemes and demonic craftiness would not defeat it. I wonder if a day went by after Pentecost that these words did not echo in Peter’s mind, reminding him through all the persecution that Jesus’ Church would not just survive â€“ but triumph!
I look at the Church today and I cling to Jesus’ promise that His Church will be victorious. I am saddened and frustrated that we lift up programs and hierarchy over Jesus’ example of serving and empowering to serve the weak and hurting.
Today in this Holy Week I am asking Jesus how I may serve Him by serving His children. What ‘unknown’ way can I be used today? Do I hear the word of encouragement He directs me to speak or write to someone? Will He ask me to fast my lunch and give it to that homeless man on the corner? Will I get alone and quiet to â€œjust prayâ€ for someone He calls to my mind? Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.
As you come to him, the living Stone â€“ rejected by men but chosen by God and precious in him â€“ you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: â€œSee, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.â€Â Â Â 1 Peter 2:4-6 (NIV)