Psalm 26 | Genesis 46:1-27 | Matthew 16:5-20
Consider this. This rock upon which Jesus builds his church is not Peter himself, but Peter’s confession (or the content of Peter’s confession): “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
John Nolland points out that the Gospel writers regularly speak of him as Peter, but they record Jesus calling him Simon. “[This] suggests that Jesus gave the name ‘Peter’ to Simon not as an affectionate nickname nor even in the first instance as an alternative name, but rather as a means of marking destiny in some manner. ‘Peter’ is not used to address Simon during Jesus’ ministry, but it becomes the name by which he is called when this destiny is being worked out in the early life of the church.”
Every time those early followers of Jesus said Simon’s (new) name they were reminded of who Jesus is and what Jesus is about and, therefore, who they are and what they are about.
They are God’s very own, beloved children who have inherited God’s kingdom and are being called to extend God’s kingdom in the world. This is the church that Jesus is building, a kingdom community. The church is not so much an institution, but a gathered group of God’s people and, also for Jesus, a renewed and restored nation.
Jesus’ words call Simon into a new role and a new future. They do to us as well.
These words recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24-25: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
It’s about hearing and doing. A confession like Simon’s calls for a response. Faith expresses itself in fruits. Experiencing the kingdom invites us to live in the kingdom which calls us to extend the kingdom.
I can’t confess, “Jesus, you’re really making a difference in my life!” and then not make a difference in the lives of others. Jesus’ doing something in my life looks like me doing something in the life of others.
I’m not allowed to become comfortable, that is, to become complacent. We are called into a kingdom future.
Believe. Then act.