Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Confession of Saint Peter

Simon Peter Answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’.”
Matt 16:16 (NIV)

The Liturgical Calendar marks today as a remembrance of the “Confession of St. Peter”. I would have truly enjoyed celebrating the Eucharist this morning but alas, there is not one fully functional Anglican Church between my office and me. I pray that this will be soon resolved. I am not blogging to bemoan the lack of operational Anglican parishes in Stafford. Instead, I would like to consider Peter’s divinely inspired declaration, and the question that precipitated it.

Jesus and the Apostolic band were on the road traveling from the Galilean coast onto the region of Caesarea Philippi. The group had witnessed a string of miracles that concluded with a banquet for 4,000, courtesy of seven small loaves, a few fish, and the power of the Almighty. The stage was set for the big question:

Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

The group immediately offered up their answers. Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, all were bandied about.

“But who do you say I am?” Jesus continued.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Peter replied.

I don’t know, but seems that there may have been a pregnant pause in order to allow for the full impact of the statement. Its no doubt that all the eyes were darting between the Son of God and the son of Jonah. Then, Christ commends Peter and Proclaims that the very foundation of the Church is laid upon Peter’s bold statement.

This isn’t an event taken out of time; everyone will be faced with this very question at one point in their lives. Our answer, whether personal or corporate will speak volumes.

Can He be our “Christ” if we deny the veracity of His word or the sufficiency of His atonement? As the “Son of the Living God”, is He the sole doorway to the Father or one of many pathways? Is the Christ of Matthew 16:16, the Christ of “General Convention 2006”? I believe the answer to each of these questions is a resounding “No”.

God’s Church is built on this mighty, spirit-inspired declaration made by the son of Jonah. When the Church (or a church) moves off this foundation, it ceases to be the Church built by the Almighty. It has slipped its moorings and is tossed here and there on the angry sea. However, the church that is anchored to this rock is secure. Though the adversary may snarl and roar, it’ll not prevail. It’s schemes and threats will come to nothing.
Let's never forget this key truth: The Church isn't built on the plans of 815, or the objectives of any particular Diocese. The Church is built upon our Christ. Luther reminds us tonight that He is a "Mighty Fortress", and a "Bulwark never failing".

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