Matthew Chapter 16 has turned out to be my best chapter in the Bible. After Psalms 18, of course. This is why.
The first 12 verses show the typical witch hunting that the Pharisees always did against Jesus. Like the boss He is, Jesus tackled them.
- Pharisees to Jesus: We demand a sign from heaven.
- Jesus to Pharisees: (Rolls eyes and walks away like the boss He is.)
- Jesus to disciples: Those guys back there are not good people.
- Disciples to Jesus: I thought we finished this discussion a long time ago. (probably some of the disciples were related to the Pharisees & Sadducees but were just buying time. Maybe.)
- Jesus to Disciples: Let me explain. That matter was finalised a long time ago. However, all of you know me. Even those who hate me, know my bloodline. Yet they want me to confirm it. That is utter wickedness.
- Disciples to Jesus: (in unison) Now we understand.
I mean, really.
Anyway, after being outwitted like so, they had no other option but to tow the line. Enter the case of Peter against Jesus or should I say; You vs Jesus.
Many times, we find ourselves like Peter in verse 13 to 20.
- You know the people of the faith Elijah & John the Baptist. In today’s context, you would say, you can quote Martin Luther & Smith Wigglesworth.
- You are in step with God and the leading of His Spirit.
- You are bold and unashamed to proclaim that Jesus is indeed Lord.
Here is where we can go terribly wrong. You see, verses 21 to 28, Peter became big headed because of the previous achievement. Was he entitled to what he is about to do? All I can say is that, he is as human as you and I.
According to Peter, the plot crumbled when Jesus declares that He is going to die. This was bad news. Terrible news in fact. It was not aligning with the fleshly expectations of Peter that trials & tribulations should not be party to any divine assignment. Lol. As though Peter was the Son of God.
As a typical, sober and mature man, he pulls Jesus aside and rebukes Him. Let me pause right there and say, as the members of the church, we need to do this and not proclaim rebuke on mountain tops under the guise of prayer items with ‘prayer partners’. I am not against prayers, partners and items. However, emulate Peter by attempting to get the gist of the matter before making a judgement or moving forward with your plan of action.
Back to where I was, Peter pulls the boss aside and tells him;
- P (Peter) : (insert Kenyan accent) Boss, I am your obimba. Count on me to protect you. Now stop this vibe of dying coz you won’t.
- B (boss): (insert Nigerian accent). Listen to me. This is very important that you……. (P cuts him off)
- P: Boss. (Shaking head vigorously). Never. Can’t happen. Won’t happen.
- B: You are the embodiment of wickedness. Stop your rebellion or I cut you off from my presence
Hold on. Just a second. Isn’t this the same person whom received the highest praise just a second ago in verse 17-20. He is now called ‘Satan’. What am I missing here?
This is what happened?
- Peter forgot everything about trusting in God and trusted his own being i.e. became proud because of previous achievements.
- What Jesus said was not in the script according to Peter. Peter expected that the Scripture should have written Jesus will die and could not join the dots that indeed the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) was He.
- According to Peter, Jesus was not a servant because He was not purchased or traded for in the market place. Side note…. don’t we all behave like so. We call ourselves servants but want to be served.
- Boldness also went out the window and Peter did not bother to introspect why.
Long and short of the story, do not let previous victories and breakthroughs in the prayer and Kingdom matters make you big headed and blind. Situations can be similar, but may not be the same. If a matter is unfamiliar, get the gist and pray over it first. Otherwise, we crumble our own cookies.
Receptively, in Matthew 17, Peter was handpicked by Jesus to witness the transfiguration. Hallelujah!!!
Dear God, You are my all. Teach me to always keep my focus on You even when in hot soup or in unfamiliar territory. Forgive me for being hard headed, boastful, wise in my own understanding and walking in my own strength. Let me boast, walk, talk and work in You so that Your Hand be seen in all of my undertakings. In Jesus Name, Amen.