Thrive: Peter, Peter, Peter – Melanie Storie

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Matthew 16:13-23

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.’” —Matthew 16:16-17

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ —Matthew 16:22-23”

Of all the disciples, Peter holds a special place in my heart. He seems to try so hard to please Jesus. He is the one at the front of the class, nodding his head in vigorous agreement with every word Jesus says. He is the one taking pages of notes. Maybe it is not in scripture, but I would not be surprised if he raised his hand occasionally and asked Jesus to “repeat that last thing one more time.”

When he confesses to Jesus who he believes Jesus to be, it is a holy moment. Jesus heaps great praise onto Peter, even to the point of changing his name from Simon to Rock. Jesus tells Peter that the role he will play in building the Church will be crucial. Can you just see Peter’s chest puffing out with pride?

Then, just a few verses later, Jesus calls Peter “Satan.” That’s quite a ways to fall from Rock, the Church Builder. Ouch.

In a way, Peter’s voice throughout the gospels is our voice. We have great love for Jesus, but we have certain expectations for him. On this side of the cross, we know the suffering of Jesus was necessary for our salvation. But for Peter, Jesus was his friend. He did not want to see him suffer, he wanted to see him fight. He wanted the warrior Messiah. Peter even pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of one of the guards as Jesus was arrested. He was ready to fight for Jesus, but Jesus wanted him to be ready to suffer with him.

A few verses after Peter cuts off that ear, he denies that he ever knew Jesus. Three times. After he promised Jesus he would never do such a thing.

I can identify with Peter. I think we all can. We love Jesus and we want to follow him, but we would rather him take us down the easy road. Jesus warns us all that his road is a hard one. Fortunately, Peter fulfilled his calling to build that Church, so when we follow Christ down that difficult road, we never walk alone.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” —Luke 9:23-24

Melanie_Storie_250Melanie Storie is a graduate of Catawba College and Campbell University Divinity School. She has been on staff at churches in North Carolina and Virginia as minister of children, and with her husband, Matt, served with Sowing Seeds of Hope, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ministry in Perry County, Alabama. Melanie and Matt have two children, Aiden and Owen. They now live in Shelby, North Carolina.

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