Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:13-20.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” With this statement Peter shows the character that Jesus saw when He chose him as a disciple. When Peter gets it right, he gets it really right!
However, we know from the scriptures that Peter could also get it really wrong! Near the end of the Gospel of Matthew we hear “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75). Peter, the rock on whom Jesus would build His church, swears not to even know Him.
Thanks be to God, that’s not the end of the story. Peter asks and receives forgiveness from the risen Christ, and does go on to be the strong leader Jesus saw he could be. When we fail to love others as we have been taught, we fail just as Peter did, but we too can ask and receive Christ’s forgiveness and go to do as He commands us.
Loving Lord, help us to see the mistakes in our lives and truly repent of our failings. Grant us the pardon only You can give and guide us back to the way You have shown us. Amen.