Sunday, September 03, 2006

Peter and the Point of View

Perspective, or point of view, is interesting. Some of us are predisposed to tend towards the negative point of view and others are more naturally prone to see things positively. And this is simply looking at our default perspective, not at any outside factors that influence our thinking.

As if God wanted to give us a practical demonstration of three possibilities of point of view, Peter in the space of a very short period of time, over chapters 15 and 16 of Matthew, obliges us.

Matthew 15:15-16 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
15Peter said, "Explain the parable to us."
16"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them.

Jesus had been teaching on the hopelessness of "religion" and on legalism. Peter however was slow to understand; his mind was clouded by the enemy.

A little while later, when Jesus and his followers had reached Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his followers who men said that he was, and then who they said that he was. Peter, with boldness and brilliant insight, declared Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus told him that the Father had revealed this to him:

Matthew 16:15-17 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
15Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.

Finally, Peter shows the danger of looking at a situation from human logic; not a good thing in situations involving God. He spoke without waiting to hear God's voice and as a result he opened himself to a point of view influenced by Satan. Though the words he spoke seemed to be loyal and loving, they were actually opposing the will and plan of God.

Matthew 16:21-23 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
Jesus Predicts His Death 21From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day.
22 But Peter took him aside and corrected him. "Heaven forbid, Lord," he said. "This will never happen to you!"
23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God's."

Three possibilities for point of view:

Blindness and confusion caused by the god of this world, Satan.

Revelation by the power of the Holy Spirit, and...

Human logic, which looks good on the surface, but can be and often is, in opposition to God's ways and purposes.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for showing me how easy it is to be "dull" or in need of a rebuke for my point of view. Thank you that you never hide your plans and purposes from us but we do need to stay close to you, spend time in your Word, listen, pray and put on the spiritual armour that protects us from the wiles of the enemy.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
10A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

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