Summary: Proper 16 (A). We are fashioned by Christ, who is the rock and cornerstone. Therefore we look to Him instead of to our effort, to be the living stones of His church.

J. J.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,

O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

“Be a Piece of the Rock”

“What!? Have you got rocks in your head?” You have heard that expression before. The implication is that one is not thinking clearly. That he has rocks instead of brains. The speaker is trying to get the other to wake-up, and think right, and act rightly. To change how he’s thinking so that he will change what he is doing.

“They all have rocks in their heads.” Peter might as well have said that in our Gospel reading for today. Jesus had asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” That is, What are people saying about Me? So the disciples said, some think that you are John the Baptist. Now remember, John the Baptist had been beheaded. He was not so popular with Herod’s wife, who put little Salome up to asking for his head on a platter. But people thought that John’s spirit had moved over to Jesus, and so considered him as John the Baptist. Others were saying that He was Elijah. For it was promised that Elijah would return at the time of the Messiah. And Jesus had done miracles like Elijah. Just as Elijah had raised the widow of Zarephath, Jesus raise the son of the widow of Nain. And just as Elijah had multiplied the flour and the oil, Jesus had multiplied bread, as we read about in the feeding of the 5,000 a few weeks ago. So some were saying that Jesus was Elijah.

Others were saying that Jesus was the prophet Jeremiah. For God had promised to raise up a prophet like Moses. So the people were guessing that He was this prophet.

Jesus then asks his disciples, Who do you say that I am? Peter chimes in right away. The text does not say this, but we can hear it in his voice, Those guys are all wet, they got rocks in their heads. You Jesus, are the Messiah, the Son of God. Those guys can’t see the forest for the trees.

Peter was right. And Jesus tells him. But he also reminds him, Hey Peter, you didn’t figure this out because you’re the sharpest knife in the drawer. This was revealed to you by God. If it hadn’t been told to you, you would have rocks in your head, too.

We, too, like the people of Jesus time, couldn’t see the forest for the trees. We were born in sin. Unable to see God. Unable to think right, to think His way. But, like Peter, Christ has been revealed to us. In the midst of the forest, we see the Tree of Calvary. And we know that He is both our Rock and our Redeemer.

Jesus promised to Peter, and to us, that He would build His Church, and that He would build it on The Rock. What rock? The rock-solid foundational truth that He, Jesus, is the Messiah, meaning the one chosen by God.

Remember how Christ, rejected by the religious leaders, was the one chosen by God to be the Messiah and our Redeemer? “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Ps. 118:22.

Christ is our corner stone and He is building His church with us, living stones. In our first reading, Isaiah reminds us to “Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.” We are hewn out of the Rock Himself. We too, are rocks, little rocks. You know the slogan for insurance, “Get a piece of the rock?” As church, we don’t just get a piece of the rock to hold onto. We don’t remain our old selves. Rather, Isaiah is reminding us to “Be a piece of the rock.”

Okay, I know that Jesus is The Rock, and that He is the cornerstone. And Isaiah is telling us that we are hewn from, cut from, formed from, that same Rock. So maybe we are a piece of the rock. But how are we to be a piece of the rock?

You need to have a Rock in your head. Not rocks, but The Rock. As Christians, we need to have The Rock in our head. The world is trying to shape us, mold us. We are pummeled with one message after another, you needs this, you want that. You are in charge of you. What matters most is what matters to you. Over and over and over, until we are stoned out of our minds. The world knows that if it can conform our thoughts to its thought; that we will conform our ways to its ways.

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