Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Peter and the Rock
May 21, 2016
Texts: Galatians 4:4, Hebrews 7:26, Matthew 16:13-20, Ephesians 2: 20, Matthew 16:21-27, 17:1-9
We all like to succeed. We love stories of those who came from nothing to accomplish great things or amass vast holdings. Once success has been reached, then we go back to trace the trajectory—the way that led to that triumph. But along the way, we don’t like to deal with imperfections, with weaknesses.
When applying for a job, candidates are commonly asked two questions. First, “What is your greatest strength?” And second, “What is your greatest weakness?” The strength question is the easiest, but the weakness question gives cause for some thought. One doesn’t have to look far to find advice indicating how to describe your weakness while making it sound like a strength. Interviewees are told to comment on non-essential skills such as those that do not pertain to the job at hand, to mention skills that one has already improved, or to turn that negative into a positive.1 In other words, don’t reveal your weaknesses.
Peter Drucker, the great management consultant, educator, and author says, “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.”2 In his role as a business counselor, Drucker needs to see the weakness of the company and its leadership in order to provide effective advice. A leader must be able to see both strengths and weaknesses.
In our lesson this week we study Peter as the one Jesus is discipling, or training. We have a birds-eye-view of the methods Jesus utilizes. In observing this process, we are able to see growth, questions, and some attempts at redirecting what Jesus says by Peter. At the same time, we are able to see direction, graciousness, and some of the learning opportunities that Jesus provides. Peter reveals his weak points to us quite often throughout the Gospels. The other side of that impulsivity that he is known for, shows that later on Peter is not afraid to witness to anyone.
Sometimes it takes Peter a bit of time for those weaknesses to grow into strengths. He loves Jesus enough to try to figure out a way for Him to avoid the cross. Jesus loves Peter enough to patiently provide opportunities for him to learn how to trust Jesus, the Rock. Peter has to learn that nothing can destroy Jesus—not even the cross. He sees the majesty and glory of Jesus on the mountain at the Transfiguration in Matthew 17, but then this impetuous man is asked to keep it inside him until later. Jesus is growing Peter into leading others to the Rock.