Matthew 16:13-18, 24-28, Peter’s Confession of Christ
The focus for these scriptures is Jesus’ question to the disciples of “Who am I to you?” and then Peter’s confession of Jesus. Peter declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God was pretty significant. Other people were guessing about who that was. Some thought it was John the Baptist, while others thought it was Elijah, but Peter was chosen by God to receive the information that it was Jesus.
So, why Peter? Why was he the one who was given this information over the other disciples?
Jesus sought out Peter and spent a lot of time developing a relationship with Peter. Jesus was clear on how the relationship was to be that Jesus is the Master and Peter is the disciple, or student. Jesus spent a lot of time praying for Peter. Jesus spent a lot of one on one time with Peter, really molding him into the disciple that Jesus needed Peter to be. Peter was in the inner circle with Jesus, and was given more time and allowed to see more things that Jesus did. During that process, Peter was renamed by Jesus. He was no longer Simon Barjona, but Jesus renamed him Peter, which means rock. Jesus knew that Peter would grow into that role of being a Rock, and would be able to fulfill his calling of being a fisher of men. Jesus saw qualities in Peter that he knew he wanted others to see. Peter was chosen.
Peter’s confession is a call to follow Jesus, but also a call to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus.
This story of Peter made me think about myself and about my relationship with God. I thought a lot about what my journey as a Christian has been and at what point did my relationship with Jesus become more solid. When I was a kid, my family always went to a very conservative church. We were there most Sundays, and also for services throughout the week. I don’t really remember much about what I learned as a kid in church. I was baptized literally the Sunday before I was leaving for college. I remember feeling like I should be baptized, but I am not sure that I really understood that it was a special thing. Throughout college, I went to church with some of my friends, or even by myself sometimes. I knew that I believed in God and I definitely saw signs of God’s presence. When I was married, my husband and I became involved in a church right away. We were active in the church, and started having different responsibilities. Pretty soon, I was teaching Sunday School. I was Christian Education Chair, directed Vacation Bible School, hosted holiday parties for the kids, filled Communion cups. I am not telling you all of this so that you will be impressed. I realized that in doing all of these things, it did not mean that I had a relationship with God. I said yes to doing a lot of things for the church, but I hadn’t really taken that next step of developing that relationship with God.
My relationship with God developed more in the last few years, really about the time that I came to LOG. I know that several of the adults have said that they have felt changed by LOG and I really do feel that same change. My adult participant was LOG 91. It was so amazing to watch some of you come into LOG on that first night, and to see you in leadership positions now. It just makes me so happy to have been able to witness that change in you. Hearing your stories and watching your unconditional love for each other has helped me to become more intentional in my conversations with God. LOG has helped me to really focus on what a relationship with God means.
I feel that God brought our family to LOG for a reason. I remember when the girls asked me to come to LOG to be an adult I did not say yes to them for several days. I told them that I work with elementary kids, not with teenagers. I tried to come up with excuses as to why I didn’t want to help out. But, I thought about it and prayed about it and in the end, I didn’t really have a good reason to say No. That was probably the first time that I really said Yes to God, in a way that would change who I am.
So, these scriptures remind us to say yes to God in a meaningful way. More than just coming to LOG, but also in intentionally developing that relationship with God. Jesus asks that same question to us as he did to Peter, “Who am I to you?”
I wonder if others can see Jesus in us - if they can see what LOG means to us. Maybe developing that relationship with God, might also be in realizing how you are viewed by others. You have said Yes to God, because you are here at LOG, but do your actions also tell people that you belong to God? When participants hear you talk about LOG, do they feel excitement and fire to have what you do? You may not realize that little things that you do may be noticed by others.
The story of Peter is really watching the transformation of Peter from that eager student who wanted to hang out with Jesus, to the scared person who was afraid to acknowledge Jesus to that mature Christian who became a leader. My challenge to you this week is that you will examine your relationship with Jesus. Answer that question that Jesus asks, “Who am I to you?”