March 23 – The Gospel of Matthew – Chapter 16

Read Matthew 16:1-28

Jesus called him Simon son of Jonah. 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 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. It means “rock”. And Jesus used Peter’s new name to proclaim the truth of the foundation of His Kingdom. “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.”

It was a pretty good day for Simon Peter, I imagine. A new name with which to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ the Son of God. He got to speak truth about Jesus to Jesus Himself.

Still, when Peter 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 quick of all that Simon Peter had just proclaimed and what He’d just heard Jesus proclaim. For, if Jesus had to suffer, 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. 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 but then let our own sinful view of things taint the picture. Can you relate? Has God revealed a difficult truth to you that maybe you’ve rejected or twisted in your mind to make it more comfortable for yourself? Talk to Him about it. Ask Him to give you His perspective. Then trust who you know Him to be and follow Him through it.

Bria Wasson

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