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Gospel of Matthew 16: 13-20 (NIV)
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
The revelation to Peter of the full identity of “the Teacher”, Jesus, was given him by the Father. Jesus stated this in verse 17. Revelation did not come as a consequence of deep thought or of analysis of what Peter had observed since his brother Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus after Andrew transferred his own discipleship from John the Baptiser (John 1: 35-42).
We know from John’s Gospel that Andrew believed they had “‘found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ)” (John 1: 41). What made Peter’s confession in Matthew 16 so amazing was his recognition that this Messiah, this Christ, was “the Son of the living God”.
This should cause us who put our full faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour to reflect with humility on the grace of God which has allowed us, today, to recognise “the Teacher” for who he really is. While the confession of Peter gives cause for sober reflection, it also can lift from us a burden as we continue our mission of living our lives as witnesses to the risen Lord. Why? Because ultimately it is up to God whether and when the seeds we sow take deep root and produce a harvest of their own.
I recently learned how large numbers of the Hmong people in the mountainous north of Vietnam were coming to faith in Jesus. One man found a copy of a Bible which had been translated into his own language. He read it more out of curiosity than anything else as, at the time, he was living a corrupt life. Reading the text, unassisted by any other person, was sufficient to cause him to commit his life to Jesus Christ. He passed that Bible to another person whom he told to read it. The same happened. He did it again and yet another person, a stranger to the Christian faith, put his life into Jesus’ hands. His is now a fruitful ministry. The feature of this story that amazes me is that God is working through the revelation of his written word to convict and convert without any other human intervention and teaching. This, it seems, is just what God did in revealing to Peter that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So let us pray, keep sowing the seed and leave the rest to God. Let us not be anxious about the harvest. In his own good time, God will bring his fruit into his kingdom.