Summary: Focusing on Jesus and not ourselves.



Jerry Falwell

Matthew 16:13-23

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men (Matthew 16:13-23).

Much of our Christianity is concerned about me. Christians emphasize my forgiveness, my answered prayers, my blessings, and my spiritual gifts, and my Christian service.

But at Easter, Peter had to learn, “It’s about Jesus, it’s not about you.”

Go back six months before the first Easter. Think back to when Jesus took His disciples to Caesarea Philippi. It is a beautiful place where I have visited. Today, it is a national park and is the place where the headwaters of the Jordan River come out of the ground. Jesus asked the 12 disciples the question, “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Matt. 16:13). He got all kinds of answers. Some disciples said that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Only Peter gave the right answer,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).

That was a wonderful answer by Peter, as far as he understood. Remember, Peter and all the disciples were looking for an earthly Messiah. When Peter called Jesus “THE CHRIST,” he was calling Jesus, “the Messiah.” All Israel was looking for the Messiah, i.e., the Deliverer who would defeat the Romans and drive them into the sea. Israel wanted a Deliverer like David who would drive out the heathen and rule over them. Peter was no different from the common men of his day. He was looking for an earthly ruler, so he answered Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, i.e., the Messiah . . . the Son of the living God.”

Jesus commended Peter, answering him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus said that Peter’s statement was a wonderful answer, but that Peter got his answer from the Heavenly Father; Peter didn’t think it up himself.

But immediately, Peter and Jesus went on different tracks; heading into different directions. Jesus was thinking of the cross and suffering. Peter was thinking of the Kingdom and its glories.

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matthew 16:21). Jesus knew the cross waited for Him where He would die for the sins of the world. The cross was the next great item on the agenda of Jesus and He knew He could not by-pass the cross.

It’s been said, everything in life is perception and expectation. Jesus expected the cross, Peter expected to live in a glorious kingdom. Jesus was about the cross. Peter was about the Kingdom.

Because Peter had the wrong expectations, he had to learn a very important lesson. “Peter, it’s about Jesus; it’s not about you.”

Peter rebuked Jesus saying, “Be it far from thee,

Lord . . .” (Matthew 16:22). Peter didn’t want anything to do with the cross because it was ghastly . . . it was agony . . . it was humiliation . . . it was final. Peter didn’t have any room in his life for the cross.

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