Tuesday 14 January 2014

TFTD - 14 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

14 January 2014

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16


In ancient times a rock symbolised something secure and God was the ultimate Rock! David could write in the Psalms, as we read today, "To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me" [Psalm 28:1] He also pleads with God, "when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" [Psalm 61:2] Now, in today's reading in Matthew Jesus seems to call Peter a "rock" [Matthew 16:18]. We recall Jesus added the name Peter [Luke 6:14] to Simon, and Peter means a rock - petros.

Yet human rocks have to prove themselves, Jesus was looking for such rocks on which "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18] Peter was the first Rock as the early chapters of the book of Acts reveal. But at first Peter failed and a remarkable confrontation took place. In the next verses we read, Matthew 16:21, "From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem … and be killed." Peter reacted in an astonishing way. He "began to rebuke" Jesus! "Far be it from you Lord! This shall never happen to you ." [Matthew 16:22] This is a glaring example of a person only believing what they want to believe! They only listen to that which fits in with their expectations.

It also illustrates what Satan means for Jesus responded by saying to Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance (margin: stumbling block) to me … you are not setting your mind on the things of God …" [Matthew 16:22-23]. Things that are in opposition are called Satan as we saw last month in Revelation 2:9,13. It is a word several times translated as adversary in the O.T.

But what about "this rock" on which, Jesus said, "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18]? It is far than one individual, yet each chosen individual, like Paul who is called "a chosen vessel" [Acts 9:15] must learn to become a rock, by possessing it.

That rock is surely faith! True faith is built on truly believing after listening properly to the words of Jesus and His Son. Jesus had warned them in this chapter "to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" [Matthew 16:12] and he told Peter "you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" [Matthew 16:23].

Let us make sure we set our minds on the right things - and then we will always have a rock to which we can go. It could be that God will also use us, in time, to become a "rock" in his service.
- DC

Thought for the Day

14 January 2014

"It is not a prudent calculation to be lowly. It is a love-mastered inclination to serve in small things or great, without thought of renown. Humility is unconscious meekness, too committed to worry about reputation. Of the man who humbled himself it is written: "He took the form of a servant." Love vaunteth not itself. Meekness is love’s quality. Let this mind be in you."

- Dennis Gillett
The Genius of Discipleship

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