Summary: These men were not ready to be trusted with the tender things of the Lord. Jesus knew it was not time for the disciples to teach the truths which would soon come to the infant body of believers called "the church."
TITLE: CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET
SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 16:13:20
I am sure we all have that one family member that we know whenever a secret needs to be kept, make sure you don’t tell them. Isn’t that right Sister Pat? There are some that are just not that good at keeping secrets. I have a family member that usually tells us –“If you want to keep it a secret don’t tell me.” Ask a group of people to keep a secret, and you’re looking for trouble. More than likely, someone will let it out. Especially if the secret is astonishing.
Let’s examine an astonishing secret in or text this morning. Jesus and the twelve had made the 25 mile trek off the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and stopped to rest outside the District of Caesarea.
• They sat along the fallen rocks on the side of the dust-filled road
• Their cloaks musty with the sweat of travel
Amidst their discussion and reminiscing of the miraculous discovery of the baskets filled with bread to feed the crowds in previous towns, hunger had crept in and they realized they had forgotten to bring bread with them for this next leg of the journey and Jesus uses this for a teaching moment.
• We need more teaching moments in 2019 – Less Criticizing
• We need more teaching moments in 2019 – Less Becoming Angry with one another
• We need more teaching moments in 2019 – Less Fault Finding
• A teaching moment looks at the experience that did not go as planned and asks the question – What can we learn from it in an effort to become better leaders at FBC
• What can we learn from the experience that we might grow and become more Useful to the Kingdom
I can see Jesus and his group of followers sitting in a circle under the nearly setting sun, they ate and laughed together. Jesus, always one to turn the discussion toward something significant, asked His disciples -- ‘WHOM DO MEN SAY THAT I THE SON OF MAN AM?’ This was an interesting but not very challenging question to answer “what have you heard about me from the streets?” A myriad of responses flowed from their lips --
• Some say John the Baptist, come back from the dead
• Others claim you’re Elijah, reincarnated
• Still others believe you’re Jeremiah the Weeping Prophet
• Or perhaps one of the other prophets, come back from the grave!
• Then they sat in silence, considering the implications of their responses
So many people had followed Jesus over these past three years. Thousands flocked to Him wherever He went, and sat under His teachings.
• Some came to question
• Others came seeking to find answers to questions
• Others, looking for a miracle
• Still others seemed to come just to see what would happen
The Disciples have now responded correctly to Jesus initial question. Would Jesus now set the record straight? They are probably preparing for this interesting dialogue but JESUS NOW FLIPS THE SCRIPT -- BUT WHOM DO SAY YOU THAT I AM? - Peter leaned forward and does not even allow his fellow brothers the opportunity to interject with their thoughts and Peter quickly blurted out his SUSPICIONS -- THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
Peter’s answer marks him as the star student, and he receives his reward. Jesus promises to build his church upon the rock foundation of this faith.
• He gives Peter executive authority
• Promises to support him
• Here Peter stands for the whole Church
• Jesus entrusts his mission to all who recognize Him as Messiah
What a glorious development!
• Now should be the time to call in the media
• Now is the time to contact CNN & MSNBC & ABC & CBS & NBC
• Let’s get the word out
• Let everybody know that the Messiah has come and is setting up his organization
• But it’s not time for press releases
• But it’s not time for photo ops
• Far from it
Did you take notice of the ending of today’s Gospel text? Here it is again -- Jesus “COMMANDED THE DISCIPLES THAT THEY SHOULD TELL NO ONE THAT HE WAS JESUS THE CHRIST.”
• Nobody means Nobody
• Not a one
• Mum’s the word
• Not a word of publicity
• Keep the secret
Why is Jesus intent on keeping his messiahship a secret? Why not let it out? And now that He has admitted who He is, and the disciples all know it, does He really think this secret can be kept? Won’t it travel from mouth to ear at the speed of novelty? The voices that ask, “Have you heard?” will multiply rapidly across the land.