Weekly Reflection, Sunday, September 6, 2020
By: Cabell Jones
Note: This reflection was originally shared as part of the 10 a.m. Outdoor Worship Service on Sunday, August 23.
When David asked if I would offer a reflection for the outdoor service it was one of those yes/no moments. Yes, it would be an honor to offer a reflection; I’m flattered that he asked me. No, it means I have to stand up in front of fifty people and speak words that I have written. I said yes because I could feel a nudge from God saying “You need to do this.” God has a habit of pushing me out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t sure what I would say, but I trusted that God would show me the way so here I am.
As I read today’s Gospel lesson from Matthew 16:13-20, two things jumped out at me. First, Peter is the rock – the foundation of the church. The second is Jesus’s question, “Who do you say that I am?”
Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” His next question is more personal—“But who do you say that I am?” Peter’s immediate response is, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. Jesus blesses Peter and goes on to say that Peter is the “rock” on which he will build his church. Peter must feel good at this moment. He understands who Jesus is and is not afraid to speak this truth. It is hard to imagine at this moment that Peter will deny Jesus three times. But, as we know, that is exactly what Peter does. Peter, the rock, the foundation of the church, denies even knowing Jesus. How can that be? How can this man be the foundation of the church?
Peter does become the foundation of the church in spite of or maybe because of his denials. This gives me hope, because Jesus is willing to forgive Peter. Jesus understands that we make mistakes. He does not judge us or hold our mistakes against us. Jesus offers us love and mercy. And that is good news.
I find it interesting that Jesus is asking the disciples these questions. He seems to be instructing the disciples, but he is asking questions instead of explaining or giving them the answer. If I’m honest, I wish God would just give me the answer. Clear, straightforward directions, please. But like I said, God has a habit of pushing me out of my comfort zone.
The question I kept hearing this week was “Who do you say that I am?” And this time it was not directed at the disciples but at me. Who do you say that I am? I know in my head that Jesus is the Messiah. I feel confident saying, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.” But does my life reflect this truth? Have I accepted Jesus into my heart and soul? Am I willing to become what God calls me to be even if it’s something I never could have imagined?