From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16: v 13-19 and 16: 21-23
When Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus told Him that flesh and blood did not reveal it, but His Father in Heaven.
Jesus then went on to bless him and change his name to Peter; from verse 18 we read:
“And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.”
IMAGINE the power Peter now held in his spirit!
What would we do if Christ Himself spoke those words to us? How could you doubt anymore that God was real, Heaven existed, and all the words of Jesus were true? I honestly couldn’t say what my reaction would be, and we’re not told Peter’s, but here perhaps is why that is:
In verse 21, after Jesus tells his disciples (again) that He must be delivered up to be killed and raised, the newly named Peter goes back into spiritual blindness, in a big way, in verse 22:
“Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Hold on a second! Was this not the man to whom He just gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and the power to bind and loose? How is it then, that he became blind again so quickly, and forgot the things of God?
Again, we are not told Peter’s reaction, but I’m sure these words wounded as much as the others lifted. We are told, later, that Satan specifically asked for Peter to be turned over for ‘sifting.’ Jesus tells him this too.
I’m not sure, to be honest, I would have kept walking with the Lord after that. If you’re really honest with yourself, would you?
I’d be confused, hurt, upset, and frightened, having seen so much and been told so often how small my faith was, how limited my understanding. I’m not sure I would not have thrown up my hands and asked, “Then WHY did You pick me?”
The truth is, we strive to be like Christ, but we’re a lot more like Peter. There are days we have enough faith to get out of the boat, even if we lose our focus later, and there are days we go into the tomb just to check and see if He’s really gone, and what that really means for us.
Where are you on the spectrum of Peter’s faith today? Where will you be tomorrow? And the day after?
Therefore, let’s pray:
Lord, if mustard seed faith is enough to move mountains, what would mountain sized faith in You accomplish? My faith is as a boat without oars in a storm, powerless to resist the winds and currents of the times and seasons, the fads and protests, the bombardment of the world’s knuckles at the door of my heart.
There are days, Lord Jesus, where I feel that I too, have the keys to the kingdom, that I understand all, that the mysteries are solved, and my times of trial in my spirit are over. I will doubt and sin no more, because I understand what’s required of me.
And there are days I’m an offense to You, as reprehensible as Satan, with my words as well as my actions; days where if I told someone I was a follower of Yours, they would smile and say to someone else,
“See? I told you; they’re no different.”
My faith is not unwavering, Lord, and I confess this to my shame. I need Your grace and mercy, but I need Your strength as well. I ask for discernment, revelation, times of refreshing, knowledge, and wisdom that when You say, “I tell you the truth,” it is a truth I can rely on when my last breath is taken, my spirit departs, and my body returns to the dust until the last day, when You will raise it, glorified in Your holy presence.
Reach out Your hand, Lord Jesus, and save me from the towering waves of faithlessness, of turning away, of doubting Your promises, and the promises of Our Father. Be ever with me, Lord, and burn with a holy fire the obstacles in the way of the Spirit, who reveals to me Your Truth, and my sin.
By the Power of Your Holy Name, I pray.
Amen, and amen.