There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
We all play specific roles in life. As a parent, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker, or a neighbor, we have responsibilities and duties we undertake to the best of our ability.
What about the role of being chosen by the Son of God to build his church?
When Jesus was traveling on his ministry with his apostles, he asked them:
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13)
The answers he received were varied and unsure. Then he asked:
“But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
And Peter replied:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Jesus then told Peter – a common, uneducated, and likely illiterate person – he would play a role unlike any other:
“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Although Peter was prominent among the apostles, he often showed weakness. It was he who fell into the water and was chastised by Jesus who said, “Ye, of little faith.” And it was Peter who infamously said he would never deny Jesus, and then denied him three times to the authorities who would crucify Jesus. Yet, Jesus saw something in Peter that made him believe he could lead his church. And so, Jesus ordained Peter to be the cornerstone of Christ’s church.
And Peter became that man. From weakness, he grew strong. When Jesus was gone from the world, Peter stepped out and preached the good news of Christ to all people of every nation. When challenged by religious elders who felt that the faith was only for select inclusion, Peter rebuked them:
“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts of the Apostles 10:34 – 35)
Then he pronounced the creed that is the heart of Christianity:
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:38 – 42)
In support of all future generations who would come to know Christ, Peter even challenged those widely accepted as pillars of the community. When they wanted to restrict the faith to certain people of certain traits, Peter rejected that notion completely declaring that Christ is for all God’s children:
“If God gives the same gift of the Holy Spirit to them as he gave to us whom believe in Jesus Christ, who am I to stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:16 – 17)
That was the moment when Peter claimed the role set forth by Jesus and became the leader of the Christian faith.
And the rock of the Church of Christ.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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