By Bai Xue
records, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I am? And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the , the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19). Every time I saw these verses, I would think: The twelve disciples were all the followers of the , but when the Lord Jesus asked them who they thought He was, their answers were different. And only Peter said the Lord Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter recognized the inherent substance and identity of the Lord Jesus, so his answer was the most accurate, and also satisfactory to the Lord Jesus. Because only Peter had knowledge of God, the Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. So, since they were all the Lord Jesus’ disciples, why was it that only Peter recognized Jesus as Christ at that time?
Later, through reading the Bible, communicating with some brothers and sisters, and praying to God, I gained some enlightenment. I came to realize it was no accident that Peter recognized the Lord Jesus as Christ; actually it was closely related to his careful observation of the Lord Jesus’ action and His being and possessions in ordinary life. During the period of the Lord Jesus’ work, Peter lived with the Lord Jesus and ate with Him. He focused on observing every action and word of the Lord Jesus in real life, and from that he appreciated with his heart the disposition and emotions of God that the Lord Jesus revealed. Particularly, Peter paid special attention to the Lord Jesus’ words, in which he often searched for the truth and sought God’s will. He found that every word the Lord Jesus spoke was the truth, and could bring people the supply of truth and life, and that no one could speak such words. He also gradually knew God’s disposition and what God has and is from the Lord Jesus’ utterances and work. And he saw that even though the Lord Jesus looked like a normal human being, and wasn’t physically imposing or born in the palace or in the noble’s family as people imagined, yet what He expressed was the truth that wasn’t possessed by corrupt people, and He was equipped with all that God has and is. His magnanimity was as boundless as the seas and the sky, and His tolerance and mercy for mankind was without limits, yet He was humbly hidden and dined with the sinners. He was not arrogant, not selfish, and He had no trace of any corrupt disposition of human beings. All that was revealed by the Lord Jesus was holiness and righteousness, and His selfless love for us mankind. His emotions of pleasure, anger, sorrow, and happiness were not for Himself. He took pleasure because the truth He expressed had brought the light to mankind, and He felt sorrow because corrupt mankind was living in the sin and being afflicted by Satan. The truth that the Lord Jesus expressed was the reality of all positive things, and such essence and being could only be possessed by God Himself. It was through each and every detail of his contact with the Lord Jesus that Peter recognized the Lord Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. Eventually, because of his knowledge of God, Peter was approved by the Lord, and the Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven and entrusted him with the mission to shepherd the flock.
I envy and aspire Peter’s experience of knowing the Lord Jesus. And from it, I saw the precious quality of Peter was that he never came to know the Lord Jesus from His appearance, but by gradually experiencing the actual words and work of the Lord Jesus, feeling them with his heart, and pursuing to know God, know God’s substance, God’s disposition, and God’s being and possessions. And eventually he recognized the Lord Jesus as the incarnate Christ. It also has brought me some inspiration: If we want our belief in God to allow us to achieve true knowledge of God, we must focus on. For it is through His word that God enables us to know His being and possessions, His disposition, His will, His requirements of man, and so on. Besides, only by taking heed of God’s word, can we come to know Him little by little. I am willing to seek the truth and grasp God’s intention more in God’s word like Peter, experience God’s work to gain knowledge of God’s disposition, and pursue to be a person who knows God.
Peter’s recognizing the Lord Jesus as Christ inspires us: Focus on the utterances of God is so crucial. Since Peter followed the Lord Jesus, he has always paid attention to the work and word of Him, such as seeking the truth, grasping God’s will and understanding God’s disposition and emotions from the word of the Lord Jesus. Therefore Peter became the man who knew God best and gained His praise. The Lord Jesus even gave Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the task of shepherding the flocks. From this, we can see that the most important thing in believing in God is to pay attention to pondering His words, putting His words into practice and pursuing to know Him. Only such pursuit can be in line with God’s will. When Peter got along with the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus said many profound words to him, which is also the truth we need to understand.
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