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The Rock That Moved

**Which of the two did what the father wanted?** They said, **The second.**
Matthew 21:28-32

Sermon Topic Good Intentions

Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 21:31


Do you remember the Gospel episode in which Jesus asks the disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" and "Who do you say that I am?" (Mt.16:13,15). It is then that Simon Peter has one of his finest hours, and one of his worst. At this point in the Gospel no one has openly acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. It is Simon Peter who blurts out the answer first: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." The power and the strength of the faith this revelation from God has given Him evokes high praise from Jesus. Peter reminds him of hard rock. "You are Rock...I will entrust to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven," Jesus tells Simon Peter. (Mt.16:18,19). It is the apostle's finest hour. But, as someone else has said, Peter was not yet a very stable rock. He was a rock that moved. He fell, he faltered, he failed, he shifted. He made mistakes. In that very rewarding moment with Jesus, he made a big one. As the kids today would say, "He really blew it." Christ was using that moment as an opportunity to try to explain to the disciples that He was going to be tortured and executed; that He was not the kind of Messiah they had been looking forward to; that He was not going to be a political hero or great military leader. He was going to be humiliated, made to suffer and die, as the Prophet Isaiah had foretold. Peter could not accept that. To the same Jesus he had just acknowledged as Messiah, he said, "God forbid that any such thing happen to you." Peter was correcting the Messiah, and Jesus whirled on him and called him "satan." In seconds, the Keeper of the Keys to God's Kingdom became the personification of satan. The "rock" had moved.

Peter was constantly blowing hot and cold, making mistakes, catching the ball and then dropping it. He was impulsive and impetuous down to the very last night of Jesus' life. Peter was right there with [...]

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