What a Load of Misfits!

WHAT A LOAD OF MISFITS!

As I was preparing to speak at a weekend-long men’s retreat I recalled Jesus’ words to one of the Bible’s “mis-fits”, ol’ Pete himself. One of the more astonishing statements Jesus ever made when you think about it:

“And I also say to you that you are (Greek- Petros, a stone) Peter, and upon this (Greek- petra, massive rock formation; bedrock) rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” -Matthew 16.18

Countless sermons have been preached, Bible studies given, volumes written and scholars the world over on Peter, his life, his letters to the church in the New Testament and of course deep discourses on Jesus’ interactions with him and regarding the larger passage from which the above quote is taken.

Perhaps some of us relate to Peter because of his somewhat apparent blunders, over-speak while others focus on his faith, ultimate submission to Jesus and his boldness upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, his preaching and brilliance in writing as time went on.

Many have noted the episode of being publicly called out by apostle Paul (who of course did NOT walk with Jesus in the flesh and who came to saving faith later so as Peter had a certain “seniority”) on Pete’s two-faced issue re. Jews and Gentiles. Many have also recognized his apparent humility and unity with Paul later as he writes encouraging his readers to respect Paul and take his words to heart as he himself clearly has.

However you do or do not relate to the guy, back to Jesus’ statement directly to and about Peter.

Most realize “church” is an assembly of “called-out ones”, essentially followers of Jesus, not any particular building, stream of churches or other organized -OR- disorganized gathering of professing Christians. People fight and fuss continually as to -who- and -what- “The REAL church!!” is and is not, but I think that is often more an indication of preference, unforgiveness, ignorance and/or arrogance than the mind of Christ.

Aside from all that- IF you yourself were gathering, starting a local fellowship of believers and choosing a particular leader, based upon all you can learn of Peter prior to Jesus’ statement about him would you have selected HIM for the gig?!

I cannot imagine given all the other things we can read about each of the other of Jesus’ followers in the four Gospel narratives that I would have chosen Peter for the job.

Now I do expect blowback (most of the time, ha!) about all this but let’s face facts, either Jesus said all this or He did not.

No matter WHAT you think Jesus meant by it or the implications to our time and issues, in my own view Peter was like most of us whether we wish to accept the “misfit” tag or not. He made obvious and sometimes massive mistakes, seems one of the most impetuous foot-in-mouths of all the disciples, acts without much thought in a number of key moments during Jesus’ ministry on earth pre-crucifixion, and in general just is not whom I would have chosen.

What does Jesus know that you and I don’t? HA… wow… like- EVERYTHING including the value, potential and reasoning behind God’s Own selection of people to serve via this or that spiritual gift and calling INCLUDING leadership of any sort. That’s what.

I would have likely chosen John, perhaps Matthew, just fyi. And I’d have chosen wrongly.

See, our judgment of what God is up to and who ought to be where doing what is often so very thin, laced with our own preferences and prejudices we’d send (and have and do… God help us!) people packing or simply discard them as useless to lead anybody.

While some continue to argue all and any Christ-follower can be or even is a leader (I strongly disagree directly considering biblical contexts that mention the spiritual gift of leadership via God the Holy Spirit) though certainly all of us in the practical can and do lead by default of influence.

What was Jesus thinking in light of all the blunders not only He but all the other disciples and other close followers of His saw and knew of Peter’s slack, foolishness, obvious stuff they knew about him?

After the Lord’s resurrection Peter again seems to blow it by flipping back into a fishing gig (and took most of the disciples along with him) -upon realizing Jesus was standing on that shore who was the first to leap out of the boat and get to Him on the beach that day?

Over and over God’s Word tells us He “chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” and that HIS “foolishness is wiser than human wisdom”. Yes indeed. How humbling to we know-it-all’s, ‘eh??

We don’t know what was in Pete’s mind as he heard the Lord say this, nor what the others were thinking. It’s only a guess on all this when in short order Jesus looks at Peter rebuking him with “Get behind me Satan”. Welcome to the church my friends. Whatever it is, it ain’t dull ‘eh?

So water it all down if/as you wish, but Jesus is handing keys and a statement to someone He’s as much prophesying over who will be a future martyr and celebrated leader of the church, churches, the very Christian faith. So much for mere human “wisdom” and our flawed judgments.

Let us take ever more care on whom we judge “worthy” in the kingdom of God. None of us are the King.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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