Peter doesn’t know it but he’s about to make the discovery of a lifetime, a discovery of life itself.
– So, what’s the word on the street? Jesus says.
– About what? says Peter
– You know, the usual, who’s going to sort things out, make life better.
– Oh that. You mean, the son of man? says Peter
– Yes, says Jesus, that vision Daniel had about a hero, a rescuer. What are the popular theories at the moment?
– Oh the usual, some people say it was your cousin – the Baptist, some say it’s one of the old heroes, one of the prophets, you know what people are like with their ideas and opinions.
– And what about me?
– Yes, who d’you think I am?
You can practically hear the gears turning, the penny dropping.
– You mean… Peter pauses, blinks, narrows his eyes. Er… hang on… wait a minute…
Those gears keep turning. Jesus waits.
– Oh! I see! It’s you! You’re the one we’re waiting for! I get it! You’re the chosen one! You can change things, you can set us free.
And Jesus smiles. And nods. And having begun to see Jesus, Peter then does what we all do.
– Now listen, says Jesus, it won’t be as you expect. Changing things will involve sacrifice and death. I’m going to give my life here.
– No! Peter interrupts him. That’s not the way. That’s not the hero we want. I’ve got a better plan. Be powerful! Prove yourself. We’ll protect you. We’ll help you make it happen. We’ll make you king.
– Don’t do this Peter. You can’t control God. Your eyes have started to open, keep them open. Don’t try and steer this thing, the picture is much bigger than you can imagine. The ways of God are not as spectacular as you would like. They are unexpected. More vulnerable. God is greater and smaller than you can imagine. Stay awake Peter, be ready for the presence of God, for it will turn up regularly, just not necessarily in the ways you expect.
Matthew 16 v 13-23