September 12: What Jesus Called Peter

Read Matthew 16:13-28

Jesus called him Simon son of John. It was the name he had before he met Jesus. Before God the Father had revealed the truth about Jesus to this humble fisherman from the town of Bethsaida. Then He called him blessed. It means happy. To be envied.

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah . . .” (v. 17)

That’s when Jesus proclaimed Simon’s new position. He called him Peter, the Rock upon which He Himself would build His church. When Peter spoke the truth of who Jesus really was, who He still is today, God the Son gave him the keys to the very Kingdom of Heaven.

“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (v. 19).

It was a pretty good day for Simon Peter, I imagine. A new name with which he had not only proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ the Son of God, but also with which he would hold authority in eternity. He got to speak truth about Jesus to Jesus Himself.

Perhaps at the thought of the keys of heaven and the authority which Simon Peter could now claim, he envisioned mighty angels and a beautiful throne. So when he heard Jesus’ talk about suffering at the hands of religious authorities, it did not settle well. Jesus’ words  must have sounded crazy and depressing. They cut to the quik of all that Simon Peter had just gained. For if Jesus had to suffer, then what would Peter have to do?

Maybe that’s why he took Jesus aside and quietly rebuked him. Although he had loved what Jesus had told him just four verses earlier, the things He said now were downright hurtful to a man who’d just gained the whole world. Hurtful, that is, from a self-centered I’m-finally-getting-ahead-in-this-world perspective. So when Jesus heard the self come out of Peter’s words, the old nature that makes people seek the opposite of God’s upside-down ways, He rebuked Peter strongly.

And the man He’d just called blessed was now being called Satan by Jesus Himself.

It’s a picture of what happens when we speak truth from God’s perspective and then let our own sinful view of things taint the picture. One minute, Jesus was giving giving Simon Peter the very keys of heaven, and the next minute he was calling him Satan himself. Let us take heed lest we fall to that self-focus as well.


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