Wednesday, August 06, 2014

“But Who Do You Say That I Am?”

All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.  Jeremiah 31:34

“But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  Matthew 15:16-17

May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.
Saint Richard of Chichester (13th-century English bishop) 

See, the days are coming, says the oracle of the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  Jeremiah 31:31

If there were ever a person who could be the first ideal representation of the new covenant which Jeremiah foretells, Peter is the rock-solid choice.  Peter the denier.  Peter the retreater to his comfort zone (fishing boat).  Peter the envious of the beloved disciple.  Peter the rebuked.  Yet in the end, we know he is Peter the Believer. 

There was a time when Peter could be called “ye of little faith.”  Walking on water toward the Lord in sacred scripture (Monday), Peter weakened and waivered and needed to be saved by the outstretched hand of Jesus the Life Guard.  (Was that when the expression “Are you saved?” was first coined?) 

Yet today, Peter exhibits the opposite extreme of enlightened faith in the Lord.  Such faith, although it is its own reward, also is recognized by the Lord.  “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

Our study of sacred scripture is the pathway we take to “Know the Lord” to see the Lord more clearly, know the Lord more dearly and follow the Lord more nearly every day.  These were words that Jeremiah preached and Peter lived so that we could follow in their footsteps.

What is the Lord writing on your heart?  What keys has the Lord offered to you?  What will you do with them today?  Our action can not only be directed inward.  Just as Peter is directed to interact with heaven and earth, we are his following forces.  We must pick up the standard Peter carried into battle and carry it ourselves.

To know the Lord, we may have to chase down and pursue the Lord with the same vigor we pursue college applications, new jobs, or buying a new house, car or appliance.  Think of the time you might spend pouring over Consumer Reports just to be sure that the new vacuum cleaner you want or the new car to commute to work will serve you well for years to come.  Apply some of that time to your prayer, study and action.  That is our part of the new covenant.  We have to come out of our comfort zones and man-caves in order to be rebuked and saved -- thus able to take up our role among the priests, prophets and kings.        

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