“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God .
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but by my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Then charged (commanded) he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
From that time forth began Jesus to shew (reveal) unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day.
Then Peter took him (took him aside), and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, (God be merciful unto you) Lord; this shall not be unto thee.”
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not (are not mindful of) the things that be of God.” Matthew 16:16-23
Very understandable that Peter would have this reaction once Jesus keyed them on on the fact that not only was he not going into hiding, but quite the opposite, he instead, would in deed stay the course, stay on the path that would lead him into Jerusalem and that he would not only be arrested and tortured by that he would also die and the words that they couldn’t quite “hear” were that he would rise on the third day. Peter couldn’t quite “hear” that victorious ending because the process that would lead to that victory was too dreadful for him hear and to dreadful for his “heart” to understand and Peter loved Jesus and he knew, as he had Jesus affirmed, that Jesus was indeed the promised one, the hope of all mankind sent from heaven itself to save us all and free us all and establish the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.
Peter also knew that Jesus was blessed of God and carried a power clearly not of this world and that he was indeed exactly whom he claimed to be, the Son of the only living God.
So Peter could not understand, much less dare to believe that this things would befall Christ.
Also note that Jesus had just reaffirmed to Peter, and even to all of us who now read their exchange, one very important fact, Peter was blessed and yet a few passages down Jesus would have to rebuke, the line out and correct the thoughts of Peter, the one who was truly blessed of God but through his human understanding and love and compassion could express thoughts and ideals that were so contrary to the word and will of God that if Jesus could have (and he could not) have possibly been swayed by his friend into a different path, choosing a different course, it would not only negated and made void his entire ministry work and even his purpose for coming to earth but would have benefited the enemy, which is why Jesus pointed out clearly where this thought originated.
The devil would have loved this, if Jesus had changed paths, if he had “ran” that would have meant that there would have been no going back to Jerusalem, there would have been no arrest, there would have been no torture, no cross, and certainly no death upon that cross but also there would have been no way in the desert for those who are lost, there would have been no freedom for those in prisons of bodies, minds, and demonic bondage, there would be no healing bought by those stripes that he endured, there would be no peace for us all given to us because he hang on that cross, bearing our shame and sin and without his death there would be no salvation and certainly no hope for any of us because without his death which had to come, it had to happen, just as he said because it was the only way we could be restored unto him and his death was the only way to bring resurrection.
We are experiencing a time in our world like nothing ever seen before, there have since the fall of man times of famine, peril, and plague but nothing that could be seen the world over, we as a people, globally connected as humankind, have found ourselves facing for the past weeks and continue to face with every day bringing uncertainty as numbers fall and rise and those that govern us try their very best to lead us and guide us safely as possible through a maze, that they themselves must also navigate, their own health and the health of their families and loved ones as vulnerable as for us all.
We are truly in this together as the virus has no prejudice, no politics, and it cannot be bought or sold, meaning the rich, the poor, anyone and everyone, it cares nothing of who we are or what we are because it only has one purpose to invade, to infect, and to spread.
And we are all faced with one very real and inevitable truth, ONLY God knows where this will stop or when it will end. And only God has the peace and the comfort that can protect our minds and our hearts and most of all our souls during this.
And only by focusing on what can come of it, even if it does not come for us, to be happy for those that can and will find fruits in the most horrendous, lowest, and darkest valleys. Families that once were the backbone of society and should be this was God’s plan, for families to be just that, a family, to stick together, be together, love one another and be bonded in that love but overtime and the “need” for both parents to work because governments have allowed inflation and prices to rise to the point that multiple incomes are often a necessity for families to survive, and this has came at a great price, the price of parents who really do not know their children and children who are missing out on a deeper relationship with the very people God chose to be the forefront of their lives, to teach them, guide them and love them.
And that is one thing that is going to come form this nightmare. A re connection of families, a re connection of what is truly important and time to get to know and really appreciate one another for who they truly are as a person not just the “title” they have in our lives.
And I want to give a couple of scripture to show just how important the family unit is in the opinion of God and this is one of the many reasons Jesus came to earth, he wants those relationships to built on love, respect, kindness, and above gentleness which are some of his attributes.
He doesn’t want families to built on iron fists, control, belittlement, and fear of retributions for making mistakes or “coming up short” in the view of over zealous parents.
And more than ever it is time to seek the Lord and it is good for people to have hope and encouragement but the only way we can access the promises of God is to serve God, and I mean truly serve God.
I do believe that that is something else that will become clear as we proceed through these times.
The true Gospel has has became so watered down that some really believe that the promises of God are just that, promises and that it requires nothing on our part but that is absolutely not true.
We must repent, we must be saved, and that means a conversion for our “old ways” into a newness and a real relationship with Christ when also means keeping his commandments and keeping his word, all of that word, and then we are heirs to all his promises and can seek him, his shelter and his peace in these times.
God sent us his word as instruction to want he wanted to take place in the family unit.
Malachi 4:6: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statues and judgments.
Behold, I will send Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come a smite the with curse.”
This prophecy went down over John the Baptist, as we”listen’ to the words that were spoken to his father Zacharias by the angel Gabriel, as he foretold the conception, and birth and divine calling upon the life of John as John would preach the Lamb of God.
Luke 1:10-17: ” And as the whole multitude of the people were praying without (outside) at the time (hour) of incense.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell on him.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have great joy and gladness; and many people shall rejoice at his birth.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy ghost from his mother’s womb.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make a people ready (PREPARED) for the Lord.”
John preached a revolutionary new (to them) message, He was to introduce them to their God, not as they had perceived him to be, with fury and judgement, but a God that was love, gentleness, and forgiveness a God that they we meet as a Lamb, the perfect sacrifice but also showing humans, himself what exactly it is that he expects us to be and how he wants us to behave with each other. That is why he wanted the hearts of children to parents and parents to children, this is how the family of God works.
If you read this for the beginning you will notice so very important facts, Zacahrias was alone praying and offering incense but there were many, many outside the temple praying at the time he was to offer that incense. God’ s timing is as he, perfect, always perfect, and in the midst of every trail, torment, that comes upon this earth God is there. God knew all of these things would come, God told Noah to build the ark, God told Abraham that his descendants would go into bondage and God told Moses that he would deliver the children.
No one liked any of those circumstances but we can read about the miraculous hand of God in each account.
The only difference is today we have so much, so much to do, so much technology and the ability to know and see through the internet the devastation that has came that it has brought a new level of fear and uncertainty and it is hard to remember when faced with numbers, graphs, and charts one truth that is timeless, ageless,a and will never ever change, GOD IS STILL THE SAME.
God has always been and God will always be. Thousands of years have came and gone, rulers, kings, powers, and kingdoms , but it is still the same Jehovah God that created it all.
So to get to the title and make an end of this post (you were beginning to wonder, Is it ever going to end? 🙂 weren’t you?) Just kidding, laughter is merry medicine.
But seriously, we will make it, holding on to God, that does not mean that we not suffer losses but it means we will make it, we will make it home.
We will make it by staying the course God has given us through his word. According to the handy dandy Wikipedia, this was probably an old nautical saying, and here it is as copied directly from the internet “encyclopedia”, (better known as Wikipedia), it means this: “Stay the course” is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism.
And the flip side to staying the course was this, the vessel had the option to “cut and run” meaning to hurry off by cutting the ropes and cutting free of the anchor.
We must stay anchored.
Hebrews 6:10-19: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister.
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiply I will multiply thee.
And so, after he had endured, he obtained the promise. for men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an an end of all strife.
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.
That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consultation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope THAT IS SET BEFORE US. WHICH HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST, AND WITH ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL (Presence behind the veil).”
Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson