Saturday, July 29, 2017

Over zealous Peter

Pastor John Macarthur, in a series of talks that are available online, discusses each of the Apostles in turn.  Peter features prominently in the four Gospels and Macarthur has much to say of Peter.  Probably, the most remarkable thing that Macarthur draws out is a fact that had previously past my attention - Peter over zealously takes to his role as head of the church!

We pick up the story in the Gospel of Matthew at Chapter 16 verse 13.  Jesus asks the Apostles to tell him who he is.  It is quite an appropriate time for Jesus to ask this as it precedes an event that will most likely leave the Apostles with no doubt as to who Jesus is - the Transfiguration in Matthew 17.

Peter's answer is recorded in verse 16:

You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus then rewards Peter for his answer.  On the basis of the answer Christ tells of how he will build his church.  He then explains that he will give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven (verses 17 to 19).

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And 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. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Then Jesus explains that he must suffer many things.  Jesus is plain as to his plight: that he will be killed and that on the third day he will rise to life. (verses 21).

It as at this point that Peter jumps to action - this is the interesting bit - Peter took Jesus aside (verse 22).  Wow! Like Peter man-handled Jesus and sought to have a discussion out-of-sight behind a rock or  a clump of trees!  And, Peter is bold enough to rebuke Jesus for what Jesus said:

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Peter seems to have taken a CEO role of the church immediately.  It seems that the first task was to ensure the spin-doctoring of the brand asset is sorted out.  It's almost as if Jesus has, in Peter's eyes, taken some subordinate role - Mission Director perhaps - that Peter may rebuke Christ! Peter seems to have taken on all matters of church strategy and the church business plan.  Peter seems over zealous and well beyond his mark.

To which Jesus communicates to Peter that Peter best run the church to God's order rather than any order of his own desire:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Now, this lends well towards an application point.  Mankind, like Peter, are all too likely to take into account things of men.  Conscious and deliberate effort is needed in a church to ensure that the things of God are in mind.  Church leaders will fail if they apply practices to the church that are of the world - the practices must instead be holy and righteous.  In relation to the abuse within the church it is then very sad to recognise that many victims are first physically harmed, suffer from a breach of trust and then also suffer for want of the church's application of holy and righteous procedures.


Note: all links good as at 29 July 2017

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