Little Stones and Growth
(Prov. 16:18, Eph. 4:7,13-16, Mat. 16:18, Gal. 2:11,14, 2 Pet. 3:14-16, Rev. 21:10-14)
One of the problems among us as disciples is our innate desire to be somebody. Pride goes before destruction and a cocky attitude before a failure. I have paraphrased the reference in Proverbs. The disciples and the women who traveled alongside them with Jesus had a first-hand, PhD level, course in humility. Jesus’ strength of character is unmatched among humanity. No one comes close. The Roman soldier standing by as He yielded up His spirit, recognized Him as a true Son of God. He bore the pain and humility of that most heinous torture as no one else. Here He displayed the ultimate demonstration of what it means to be filled with the Spirit.
As I prayed, I thought again of Jesus’ definition of maturity, that we love our enemies and bless them that curse us. Jesus confronted those who opposed Him in ways that were intended for their spiritual eyes to be opened. At the end, He allowed them to destroy His body, knowing that He, that His Father, would raise Him up. Yes, His person is a mystery yet we know it is true. But I am thinking of true humility.
I think the essence of it is related to knowing our identity as our Father’s sons yet remaining totally submissive to Him. Humility knows that we are not Him. And we are not “better’ than anyone else. We are all on the same plane when we consider the cross and what the Son of God did. The gospels and the record of Acts provide the story of those early disciples learning the lessons, of growing into the stature the Lord intended. Look at Peter’s life and progress.
It would take many words to trace Peter’s experiences with Jesus. I think most of you reading this know something of those stories and we have many. A Bible website I use indicates his name is mentioned 153 times. He is an example for us all as we see his mistakes, his failures. He followed Jesus. He did not want to leave Him. But Peter had to see all of the weakness that was in him, all of the words and intentions that could only be fulfilled when he received the fulness of the Spirit at Pentecost. And Peter still had some imperfections after that. See the words in Galatians. They are very significant for our day, as they were at that beginning of the Lord building His church. But that is another message.
I have heard perspectives on the meaning of Jesus’ words to Peter when he recognized Jesus for who He is. The Greek word for rock does not imply a little stone Further, while the revelation of Christ is foundational to spiritual life, Jesus did build His church upon Peter. What? No, I am not agreeing with false teachings of the Roman variety. Jesus’ church does not need, or have, a single head leader. Christ is the singular head of the body, the rest of us are His members as God has grafted us into Him. How has Jesus built His church upon Peter? Read the passage in Revelation and see that the foundation of the heavenly city includes Peter as a precious stone.
This is not a future reality but a present one. Now it is true that we do not yet fully see this but the Lord is now seated in the heavens and Peter and the rest of the 12 are with Him. And spiritually speaking we are seated with Him and them in the heavens. The cloud of witnesses are not far off, nor is the Lord, by the Spirit. He is here! And we here are built together as precious stones fitted into the wall of this house the Lord is building to be a place He can reside.
At the time of his clear revelation of Jesus as the Christ, Peter was still immature for in the next few moments he heard Jesus say, “Get out of my way for I must fulfill the will of God.” Read that full passage also. But Peter was being prepared to fulfill a ministry which would end with his death being a witness of Christ. In his life he was a witness of and to Christ in powerful ways as divine healing flowed as his shadow fell on people. Yet he was able to be corrected by Paul and honor that other apostle. They remain on equal footing for the foundation of the heavenly city has 12 stones, Christ Jesus being the chief cornerstone. There is no other.