Lesson 2 of 4 in the Messy People Series
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain
In the first lesson of this series, we talked about a woman who’s life was a mess because of her assumptions. In her story we learned that it takes REAL LOVE to Clean up our Mess. This week we will talk about a guy who was generally ignorant but knew a little. And like many of us, he spun that little bit of knowledge into a very wrong conclusion. In his case, we will find that it also takes TRUE HUMILITY to clean up our mess.
Matthew 16:16-17 (NLT) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.
When You Know Jesus is the Messiah… Matthew 16:16-18
Jesus is the Answer. (“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” vs 16) Peter’s Response thrills the heart! “I know the Answer and it’s You! It’s Jesus!” This is the the dawning of new life. The moment someone sees for the first time, or the hundredth time, that the answer is not religion, money or anything else but that Jesus really is the Answer.
Understanding this is a Miracle – (“my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.” vs 17) People do not just logically conclude that Jesus is the Answer. (1 Cor 1:18) People do not seek after God. (Rom 3:11) People do not just repent of their sins and give up the only life they know. (John 3:19) This is a miracle. Jesus was stoked and Peter was surprised. Shouldn’t miracles humble us? Does anyone deserve a miracle? Have any of us earned a miracle? No, a miracle is a GIFT. A miracle is GRACE. And, REAL Faith is always founded upon a miracle. (Matthew 16:18 (NLT) … upon this rock I will build my church…)
But You Don’t Know What a Messiah Is… Matthew 16:22-23
Matthew 16:22 (NLT) But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
We Don’t Understand God’s Ways – Peter got one answer on the test right, but only because God gave him the answer. When he added his logic to God’s answer it quickly became a mess. God’s way is the way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The way of the cross is a path of surrender, sacrifice, and then new life. This is the core of the Christian faith, we refer to it as the Gospel. Unfortunately, it is counter cultural, and counterintuitive to our human experience.
New “gospels” have been introduced over the years that are more palatable to us. These new beliefs don’t require the surrender or the sacrifice. They also cause us to “argue” with Jesus regarding his role as Messiah. So it is not a new thing nor has it gone away. But when we do argue with Jesus about his role as Redeemer and Savior…
We Sound Like the Accuser – “Get away from me, Satan!” (vs 23) We sound like him when we speak out of fear not faith, when we live from our ‘flesh’ or our own logic rather than from God’s Holy Spirit. We should endeavor to never sound like the devil. We should rather seek to understand God, His ways, and His will.
To follow Jesus and learn God as our Father, We must learn His Word, the Bible, in order to better grasp God’s thoughts and actions. We must learn His Voice. Modern believers often forget that Christians thrived for over 1300 years without a Bible. They thrived by living “in the Spirit”. God’s Spirit lives in you. God speaks to you. God is never silent, but we are often deaf to His voice. And, We must learn His Love. God is LOVE. He Loves People. He loves you. Many people claim to hear from God, but forget that God is Love. So when trying to live for Jesus, remember it is likely God’s desire that we do more of the things that will cost us and love others, and fewer of the things that love ourselves and cost others. That being stated, we should add this truth as well.
God wants to do MORE in YOUR Life. We really need a MESSiah, not a supernatural Life Coach to help us reach our goals. Believe it or not, God will ruin your expectations because they are far too low! He will do so much more in your life than you could possibly dream. Remember, You aren’t some finger painting, or coloring page God sticks on His refrigerator. You are His masterpiece!
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
You Take Up Your Cross and Follow… Matthew 16:24-25
Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
We don’t need to understand, to know the plan, to succeed, to win or any other thing. We simply need to start by Trusting Jesus. God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus’ wisdom looks foolish to most people. But that’s okay, we simply need to rest in Jesus and walk the path.
We Do Need REAL Life. And, REAL Life isn’t something for which the modern world has a reference. Because, real life is Jesus.
Colossians 3:3-4 (NLT) For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
- Review Matt 16:16-25. What do you like or dislike about the story? Paraphrase your favorite parts of the passage. What questions does this passage raise for you?
- What do you think of Peter’s declaration in vs 16? How is that a miracle? Share with someone the day you discovered that Jesus was your answer? Share your miracle.
- How does Jesus defy our expectations? How do we misunderstand Jesus’ role in our lives?
- Share a time that someone sounded like the accuser to you. How could this be avoided?
- Discuss Ephesians 3:20. Discuss Matthew 16:24-25. How do these verses challenge you?
- Did anything stand out in your reading today that you could share with someone else?