In Matthew's gospel, chapter 16, we have the account of Jesus asking his disciples, "who do you say I am?" Peter speaks up, "you are the Messiah, Son of the Living God!" Jesus then proceeds to tell Peter who he is. The Rock, with the keys to heaven and hell, what a man . . . except - he isn't. This is the same Peter who, after this statement from Jesus - cuts off a soldier's ear in anger, somehow falls asleep when he supposed to be keeping watch, denies he knows Jesus and, even after the ressurection AND receiving the Spirit, can't get his head around the invitation from Jesus to the gentiles and the fact that they can be fully part of all the God has planned . . . so much for a rock, more like a blamanche.
Three quick thoughts:
- Peter discovers who he is, when he recognises who Jesus is. We can search our whole lives long, looking for meaning and searching for identity - when we need to start with Jesus, not ourselves.
- Jesus sees Peter (and we know this with hindsight, keep that in mind as you think about how Jesus sees those around you - and you), not just who he is when he makes this statement, but who he is going to be. The faith, the courage the passion - that will be there. We need to remember that this is also how Jesus sees us, all that we might become.
- We need to look at others through Jesus eyes and see people with potential, not just people with problems.
It was Peter who went on to preach the first sermon and saw the Church born at pentecost, he was also the first Bishop / Father in the Faith . . . we need to think on that when we pray for our Bishops, our church leaders today . . . people of faith, but people none the less - and with the issues facing the church today - we need to lift them all up in our prayers more than ever.