THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
BEING ROCK OR SATAN?
August 9, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 16:13-23
In today’s gospel, we see Jesus raising up Peter and
then bringing him down. First Jesus says to him, “you
are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”
(v.18a). Then Jesus is severely rebuking him. “Get behind
me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.” (v.23a). From
being Rock to being Satan, from being the foundation to being
the obstacle, Peter went from flying high to being laid low.
we learn about 3 dangers for anointed and appointed servant
first danger is thinking as man and not as God would do. “You
are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
(v.23b). Peter could not accept that Jesus the Messiah would
be a suffering servant rather than a powerful king. At times
we have our own ways of doing things, our own perceptions
of what is right. We balk when told about self-denial and
embrace of the cross, about forgiving and loving enemies,
about laying down our lives for the cause of Christ. We must
know that proclaiming Christ crucified is a stumbling block
and foolishness to many. But it is the authentic gospel and
the power of God.
second danger is allowing good intentions to cloud our judgment.
When Jesus told his disciples what would happen to him (v.21),
“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, ‘God
forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.’”
(v.22). That was so nice of Peter, but remember that the road
to hell is paved with good intentions. We must know that the
way of salvation is the way of the cross. It is not about
a prosperity gospel. It is not about going to heaven in first-class
comfort. It is not about shielding the people we care for
from the trials and tribulations of life. It is rather seeing
that such trials and crosses, if embraced with joy, are what
the authentic Christian life is about.
third danger is looking only to glory and triumph when doing
our work, and not considering suffering and defeat. Jesus
had assured Peter that “the gates of the netherworld
shall not prevail against (the church).” (v.18b). Peter
and the Church would be victorious. Then Jesus was saying
that he would “suffer greatly from the elders, the chief
priests, and the scribes, and be killed” (v.21). To
Peter that would be defeat, and it was unthinkable. Peter
had rightly said to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the
Son of the living God.” (v.16). How could such then
happen to the Messiah, to the Son of God? We must know that
the Kingdom of God is topsy-turvy, where the first is last,
the greatest is the least, and seeming defeat leads to ultimate
victory. And of course, the leader is the servant. The way
of salvation is the way of the cross.
leaders need to put on God’s mind, and look only to
the revelations of God. This is the way to be blessed, and
to be used powerfully by God for His purposes. “Blessed
are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed
this to you, but my heavenly Father.” (v.17).