Sweet and Sour
It’s tough when one of your spiritual leaders proclaims the sweetest, most insightful truths in their preaching, but then you catch them in a lie in the routine of business during the week. How can a spiritual leader be so spiritual one minute and the next become so devilish?
In Matthew 16 Jesus responded to Peter’s confession that He was the Messiah by changing his name from Simon to Peter, “a rock,” “a solid stone.” Jesus also declared that He would build His Church on this solid rock and gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:18-22). Talk about spiritual leadership credentials!
As the New Testament unfolds the story, Peter does use the keys to the Kingdom at Pentecost. He challenges the crowd who crucified Jesus to change their minds and accept Jesus as their Messiah. Three thousand did and the Church was born (Acts 2). Later the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:20 pictures the prophets and the twelve apostles as providing a foundation to the Church with Jesus as the cornerstone. But before we get our eyes fixated on Peter and his spiritual authority, we need to keep tracking the story in Matthew’s account. Right after he uses Peter’s confession to clinch his argument that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, Matthew honestly reveals a different side of the Apostle with the keys. He describes Peter taking Jesus aside. Listen to how he responded to Jesus’ prediction that He would be rejected in Jerusalem and then crucified (Matthew 16:21).
“And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him, ‘God, have mercy! Absolutely not, Lord! This will never happen to you!’ (Matthew 16:22)
Jesus turned around sharply and let Peter have it, ‘Satan, get behind me! You are the trigger on a trap for me. You are not thinking about things from God’s perspective but man’s!’” (Matthew 16:23)
If the great Apostle Peter could declare God given truth one minute and then speak the devil’s words the next, I should not be surprised when I see one of my spiritual leaders speaking truth one second and a lie the next. More importantly, I need to beware lest Satan take over my tongue today. I must be willing to deny myself, take up my cross, and humbly follow Jesus.
Lord Jesus, You need to be my only absolute spiritual authority, not any earthly religious leader. Protect me from becoming cynical when I hear sour words coming out of what is supposed to be a sweet, pure fountain.
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