This summer at Rooted we’ve been studying the life of Peter in a series called “Like a Rock?” This title comes from Matthew 16, a chapter that serves almost as a preview of Peter’s overall performance as a disciple. In this chapter, the disciples are asked “Who do you say I am?” by Jesus. Peter responds by saying that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. Jesus blesses Peter and tells him that He will use Peter to build His church; promising Peter great responsibility but also great importance in the future. It has to be an incredible moment for Peter; he’s following the Messiah that the Jewish people have been waiting hundreds of years for, he’s received a revelation from God, and Jesus has promised him a place of authority and importance in His continuing work. It is without a doubt a high point in the life of Peter!
However, in the exact same chapter, Peter seems to blow it. After this declaration from Peter, Jesus begins to explain that the Messiah must suffer, die, and be raised back to life; a plan that Peter thinks is ridiculous. He rebukes Jesus privately and tells Him that He cannot go and die. Jesus’ response? “Get out of my way, Satan!” He goes on to say that Peter is tempting Him and that Peter does not understand God’s plan. This is a huge contrast! In a handful of verses we see Peter exhibit incredible faith and then staggering doubt. As we’ve walked through the life of Peter, this seems to be a consistent theme. Sometimes, Peter gets it so right! And other times, he gets it so wrong! If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that this sounds a lot like your own spiritual journey…
I have often felt, and acted, as if the measure of my relationship with Jesus was based on my performance; how faithful had I been, how hard had I tried, how well had I resisted? This is a fairly common way for people to view their relationship with Christ. We often think, and live, under the assumption that we need to get it right as we follow Jesus. But what we’ve been trying to teach our students through the life of Peter is that Jesus got it right for us. The measure of our relationship with Christ is not our performance, but His faithfulness. Jesus chooses an inconsistent man to be His rock, to build and lead His church. He does not choose Peter because he’s pre-qualified or performs well; we would probably say that the opposite is true. He chooses Peter, and then promises to be faithful to him, and to work through and in him to accomplish what He has chosen Peter for.
My hope and my prayer for all of us; our students, our church, and myself, is that we would not try to earn God’s favor through performance or feel disqualified because of failure, but rather cling tightly to Christ. May we remind ourselves and one another of His faithfulness and remember as we follow him that He got it right for us.