Tag Archives: Peter

Matthew 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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Matthew 16 – Response

It’s interesting to look at (compare & contrast) the responses of the action’s / reactions between Jesus, the disciples, and the Pharisees.  I’d say that by this time many of the Pharisees are getting a little fed up with Jesus.   So they decide that they are going to respond to Him by testing Him.  They ask Jesus for a sign that He is who He says He is.  Of course you know that Jesus is not going to just make things easy for them.  He already knows what’s in their hearts, so He criticizes them for not seeing (or ignoring) the signs that are there right in front of them.

So Jesus, understanding the Pharisees, turns around later and tells His disciples to beware of the leaven (teachings) of the Pharisees.  They don’t get it at first, but after some prompting, they catch on.  So Jesus finally comes to them and asks them about their response to who He is.  Peter is the only one who seems to give a real and solid response.  He tells Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus response is high praise of Peter.

So now, because of the response He is given, Christ begins to put a little more depth / meat into His teachings.  He foretells His death and explains the cost of following Him.  Of course we know how the (hi)story goes, but they didn’t at that time.

I wanted to touch on Peter’s “good’ confession here as it has some very interesting facets.  I love the play on words that Jesus does here.  Peter says to Jesus, “You are the Christ (Kristos) the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus responds that this is not something that Peter discovered, but rather something that was revealed to him by the Father.  It’s what Jesus says that is so interesting:  “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”  The name Peter is the Greek word “petros”.  It means a small stone.  The picture that i get here is of a rock that you would use to skip on a pond.  The word “rock” in this verse is “Petra”  which means a very large rock, a bedrock, or a foundational stone.  So we have Jesus telling Peter, “You are a small stone, and on this huge froundational stone I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will on overtake it.

So if the foundational stone is not Peter, then what is it?  It is this truth; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  This is such an amazing picture, because out of the small stone, the pebble if you will, comes the bedrock of truth.  The pebble speaks forth the mountain.  Isn’t that an amazing picture?!  The pebble is not the foundation / mountain, but out of the small stone / pebble comes that which is the foundation / mountain.  It is an amazing picture!

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Matthew 14 – John, Jesus, & Peter

It’s quite the statement when someone who kills you, hears about the Son of God doing amazing things and preaching & teaching, and thinks it is you risen from the dead.  Not that John the Baptist would really appreciate the irony of the situation so much.  But it certainly does make a statement.

This chapter focuses the mental camera on Jesus, the Christ,  by panning through John, Jesus, and Peter.  Attention is brought to the fate of John the Baptist, who must decrease while He (Christ) must increase… decrease is right.  Herod, who had arrested him for speaking out against him, had been keeping John alive in prison because he was struck by what John said, and Herod would bring him out to listen to him from time to time.  However, Herodias, Herod’s wife who did not like John speaking against her, had wanted John dead, but Herod was unwilling to do it.  So on Herod’s birthday, Herodius’ daughter, Salome, danced for him.  He offers her whatever she wants, she asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and as much as he doesn’t want to do it, he does it to fulfill his promise before his guests.

So Jesus, in mourning, goes to a secluded place to find rest / peace, but He finds none.  The crowds arrive there before He does.  Even in mourning, He still minister’s and leads.  Then He feeds the crowds… or at least He blesses the food and tells the disciples to feed the people.  As a result, 5,000 are fed from five small loaves and two fish.  Afterwards He sends the disciples away in a boat, and He sends the crowds home.

Finally, there is a storm on the sea, Jesus walks on water, and the disciples see him.  Jesus speaks to the disciples to calm them, and Peter responds with an amazing reaction of faith.  He says, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  He is finally getting it.  With Christ, and only through Christ (and the Holy Spirit), he will increase.

Who are we to become and at what cost?  John had to decrease for Christ to increase.  As Christ increased, Peter was able to increase as well.  Peter’s increase led to the increase of the church, but eventually he too decreased so that future generations could increase.  What is your role and your purpose in Christ?

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

 

P.S. This is my 150th post.

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