Summary: Are we building blocks or stumbling blocks? Peter’s encounter with Christ. Peters words seem right but they are not our Lords way.
In the name of the Father, son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Play the CD
Words don’t come easy, they certainly don’t. A song by F R
You could be forgiven for thinking that over recent weeks
quite a few of the readings set for either our morning service or
evening service have featured Peter in some shape or form. From
walking on water to the recognition of who Christ was and today
the rock who Jesus said peter was became the rock which caused
Jesus to stumble. What had peter said that made Jesus react in
the way he did? the answer lies in what Jesus said to Peter
following his remarks on how he cannot let Jesus suffer. “You
think as men think not as God thinks”. Words don’t come easy
and when they do they can often be wrong, misunderstood,
misinterpreted or be taken out of context.
Peter understandably was appalled to think that the
Messiah, the Christ must be put to death. We have the benefit
of knowing the complete story. We know that this passage of
scripture falls between the miracles and was Jesus was teaching.
It must have been like doing a jigsaw but without the
picture. Peter’s reaction was natural. Kings don’t suffer for
their people, it is the people who suffer for the king. Perhaps
Peter was waiting for Jesus to tell him how he planned to
overthrow and oust the Romans, but this is Jesus standing and
speaking on true authority that a true disciple and follower of
God is also expected to suffer. This will involve self-denial,
putting God and other people first. Jesus, when in the Garden of
Gethsememe was not looking forward to dying on the cross but he
prayed “Not my will but yours will be done”. As I said earlier,
words don’t come easy.
It is not popular, it is not easy but God calls and equips us
to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. But we have to rely upon
His spirit and not our own.
There are times in our lives when words fail us, but it is not
just finding the words that is important, words without meaning
are worthless, words without understanding and action are
worthless. The message that we need to understand, and
understand clearly, that God chose Jesus’s death on the cross as
the only way by which all humankind could be restored to a right
relationship. It is a way that would have been unthinkable to a
first century Jew like Peter. It is a way that can seem barbaric
and unjust to people today.
We have to give our life to Jesus in order to gain a true
life. Not existing but living it to the full knowing that we wake up
each day with God as our best friend.
Our life is precious, priceless, and more important than
owning the whole world. We cannot give anything to buy our soul
the only price that could buy us has already been paid by our
Lord. When we fully recognise this, it shows that we really
understand the lengths that God has gone to in saving us. This
shows that we have given up our lives in order to gain life. This
life is eternal life, eternal not only in its length but also its
breadth. Eternal life is not only everlasting it is a quality of life,
a life in the right relationship with God the Father. A life where
one day there will be no more death of mourning, weeping or pain
because the old order of things has passed.
In the previous chapter of Matthew we had peter being
described by Jesus as a rock on which I will build my church.
From being a solid rock to being a stumbling block, from being a
hero with the disciples to zero. How do we see ourselves?
Building blocks or stumbling blocks? In Paul’s letter to the church
in Galashia in which he says ‘ I have been crucified with Christ
and it is no longer I who live but Christ in me and the life which I
now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God. He who
loved me and gave himself up for me. Denying self is not starving
yourself or living in a rat hole but it is an attitude that is
demonstrated in Galashians who live for Jesus and we look to
fulfil his purpose’s. So that’s how Christ sees us as building
blocks. What about stumbling blocks? Living for yourself, look
after number one jack I’m all right. Living for self is an attitude
of seeking yourself first, Jesus warned many times about the full
hardiness of living for self. Most of us here today would see