Things of God, Things of Men

Posted by Craig Britton on

Proper 17: Gospel, Matthew 16: 21-28                                   

Matthew 16: 21-28

It would be a disturbing thing to lose a good friend. By that, I mean by death taking them away. How much more tragic would you think it would be to lose, not only your friend, but the One in whom you have recently learned to sink all your trust? For everything. The trust has been gained through miracle, reception of true love, and hearing and watching the truth. It should spur all of us to do some hard thinking about what it would have been like to actually walk with the Savior. Privileged indeed.

In our gospel text Jesus begins to peel back His mission to His closest followers. They’re not totally dull. They begin to realize that this wondrous fellowship isn’t going to last forever. It will have an end. At least temporarily, and that they do not get. But there is push back and it comes from a source none too surprising. Peter. When Peter digests the words of His dear friend He pushes back. I’m sure you and I would have done the same. But when Peter stands up to “rescue” his Master, the Master retorts, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matt. 16:23).

Jesus goes on to reveal those things of men, namely, our lives, our safety, us. We want to survive and living for ourselves establishes a bulwark against the King and His mission. Now Jesus is not saying that all His followers are called to physical martyrdom. But certainly we are called to a mental one. In other words, the Lord is challenging the impetuous fisherman to recalibrate his thinking. Peter, if you’re always worried about how you’re going to survive, you’re already dead. Life lived for self goes nowhere and gains nothing. But a life lived, better, given into the hands of the Savior brings all the best back into our laps.

Take away? Settle in your mind and heart today that life given is life found. All that in and under the gracious hand of Jesus. The things of God are always best.


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