#0109 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me…told me
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:1-5 (KJV)
Today’s posting is part 11 of the new series: “Words of the Bible vs. the WORD”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book. Today, as we did the last time, are going back to the original source scripture for Apostolic Authority; but today we’re going to be coming at it from a different angle. What if Jesus wasn’t telling Peter that His intention was to build His church upon him; but on a different rock?! To help us we’re going back to the 1st Chapter of John.
Words of the Bible vs. the WORD
The Catholic interpretation of this passage puts a completely different tone and objective to this encounter. Not only does their version put Peter in a position he doesn’t belong (nor wishes to be in), it totally eradicates the truth about this important exchange between Jesus and His disciples. If the Catholic interpretation of the Matthew 16: 16-18 scripture had not been unleashed upon the Christian spiritual landscape, Catholicism never would have been launched along with its claim to Apostolic Authority. Further down this line of thinking; without Apostolic Authority it wouldn’t have been necessary for Martin Luther to begin a Reformation Movement in a bid to take back authority from the Catholics. If Jesus wasn’t calling Peter into the role of the foundation of the Church; what was He doing? Let’s look at the verses again. Let’s play with the phrases for a minute (we can always put them back the way they were in the end, don’t worry). In verses 18: And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…; let’s take out the words: you are Peter, and. Now we have: And I tell you that on this rock I will build my church. Next let’s reconnect our edited phrase to 17 and see what we get: 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that on this rock I will build my church… So what’s the rock Jesus is talking about here? Maybe Jesus was referring to the way God the Father was able to reveal something directly to Peter without using any flesh and blood middle men in the process; such scribes or Pharisees or the like. If we can keep this idea on the table long enough we can consider some new implications that might present themselves. One such implication is now there is a possibility if not even a likelihood that some—or all—of the other disciples were getting the same revelation from the Father as Peter got. To see if this notion is a valid one, we can go back and have another look at John 1. This time we’ll pick the story up at verse 29.
John Testifies About Jesus
29 The next day John [The Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
John [the Apostle] 1 29-34 (NIV)
Notice the term revealed again. John claims the reason he is out there baptizing people is so that God will reveal Jesus’s true identity to them also, to his neighbors and strangers alike. In verses 32-34, John gives us more details about what God revealed to him as well as some of the mechanics involved in the process of his experience. Again, no one told John to go out and start baptizing; no one told him that Jesus was the Messiah, this information was revealed to Him by God the Father. This was all happening at the beginning of Jesus 3-year period of ministry on earth. If we continue reading the next verses in John, we find out that the Father didn’t stop His campaign of revealing who Jesus truly was; in fact, this revelation campaign continued as a pre-emptive strategy to prepare the hearts and minds of all who would come into contact with Jesus. Those who allowed the effects of this revelation to linger, live and breathe in them, It would make them opened and ready to receive the message of Jesus!
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
John 1:35-42 (NIV)
In verses 41 & 42 we see a similar yet wholly different account of where and when Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter and here there’s no mention of his being the foundation of the church. Two different stories that have the same ending: Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter. This isn’t unusual to find these similarities among accounts as they appear in the four gospels because the authors of the gospels borrowed from one another as they were writing. Usually it’s not consequential; however when we’re dealing with a matter as important as this, it is very consequential. We’re left with having to make a choice—which account is most accurate: the one where it can be construed that Peter is the rock or foundation of the church, or the one where he isn’t. I think we know which one I will choose and I think we know which one (understandably) many Catholics are likely to choose.
If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.
TBC: Saturday, September 24, 2016