Monday, January 18, 2010

Upon this Rock

Petros, Peter, which means “rock” made a rock-solid confession, when asked by Christ whom men say that he is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” This is divine revelation, not given to us by flesh and blood, but by God the Holy Spirit.

And our Lord said to Peter, “Upon this rock [petra], I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” [Matt. 16]. But shortly thereafter Christ was rebuking the rock-man when he wanted to resist, with all good intentions, the very rock upon which the church is built: Christ and Him crucified!

It is an interesting paradox here portrayed for us in Matt. 16, a very wholesome and worthy lesson for us all. The rock of offense, is the rock upon which the church is built: a bloody, suffering and dying Jesus, scorned and rejected, cross and suffering, not some glorious triumph, at least not in the eyes of the world. Through the deepest and lowliest and most disdainful shame and suffering is how our Lord builds His church.

And He uses weak, human vessels, like St. Peter, and the words of His confession. He used a man who would betray him in public, and denounce him through cussing like a sailor! And yet that man's mouth, through preaching, would later open the kingdom to the Gentiles.

Upon the preaching of the confession of Peter, our Lord continues to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify the whole Christian Church on earth, and He promises, to the very end, to keep it with Jesus Christ, our head and master, in the one true faith.

Praise God for the confession of St. Peter! Glory to Christ for the rock upon which the church is built and for the “rock-men” and “rock-women” who proclaim and share and teach and spread the Word abroad into all the world, in all the wonderful and various vocations given among us! Praise be to God for the confession of St. Peter, the confession of the church throughout all the world.

The readings appointed for today are:
First lesson: Acts 4:8-13
Psalm: Psalm 23
Epistle: 1 Pet. 5:1-4
Gospel: Mark 8:27-9:1

Let us pray:

Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

For a Roman perspective, look here.

For an evangelical's perspective, see here (or this online master's thesis which provides patristic as well as exegetical support).

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