A couple of months ago, I was asked would I agree to being placed on the rotation for Bible Studies on Thursday evenings. My turn would/will come in February. I humbly said I would like to do so.
For those in attendance of this Bible Study I feel there must be some degree of introduction, since my wife and I are fairly new to this particular ministry.
The first time I met Pastor Tim, I felt an immediate connection. There had been some trepidation on my part because I was a part of the original church that was housed in the building that this new ministry meets in for some 30 years.
But with this connection to Pastor Tim, I felt the answer to the questions and discussions I’d had with God over whether I was done with ministry as I thought or was I to minister again as I had heard God say. Since the dark days of my life ten years ago when my first marriage failed I had to endure the slow walk back to this point in time. I left the church back then after discussion with the second pastor of that time.
I’ve told Libby I had begun to sense I was to minister again. That sense had been gone a long time.
I must introduce to you the new revised edition of James Rowe. It started out kind of jokingly when I started working in the IT department at the Naval Hospital that I could no longer use the name “Larry” since they already had one. So I said for them to call me James. It later came to Jim. The sad part to me was by the time I retired I was referred to as Mr. Rowe. It was respectful, I suppose, but at the time I only equated it to becoming old.
But over time, this name change became a moniker to show I lost the identity of who I was. God has shown me I’m no longer the man I was way back then. I am a broken man. My own mistakes broke me. All I can say is that God has turned what seemed to be a bad choice around into what has actually saved my life. Libby has been the perfect example to me of unconditional love. She’s encouraged me. She’s not put limitations on me to be who I feel I should be. I could not love anyone more than I love her, simply because I give God the credit for her being in my life as a gift from Him.
That name thing has presented a dilemma for those who knew me back in the day and to those who have only recently gotten to know me. Let me gently say to all. Call me Jim. I’m not the person I used to be.
In His ministry Jesus was in the business of introducing people to His Father. We know His ministry was clouded in a mystery in a way. It’s apparent not everyone knew who He was.
Matthew 16:13-20 New International Version (NIV)
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
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 you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Some thought He was as the scripture states. No one consensus defined who He was. Other than scripture stating that He was the incarnate part of God the Father, many knew little of His being. His existence.
When Peter answered that He was the Messiah, the Son of the living God, Jesus stated that the revelation of this to Peter was correct. Many say that the church would be built on Peter’s answer, but to be honest the rock that is spoken about here is interpreted in two ways.
The debate rages over whether “the rock” on which Christ will build His church is Peter, or Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). In all honesty, there is no way for us to be 100% sure which view is correct. The grammatical construction allows for either view. The first view is that Jesus was declaring that Peter would be the “rock” on which He would build His church. Jesus appears to be using a play on words. “You are Peter (petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.” Since Peter’s name means rock, and Jesus is going to build His church on a rock – it appears that Christ is linking the two together. God used Peter greatly in the foundation of the church. It was Peter who first proclaimed the Gospel on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-47). Peter was also the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). In a sense, Peter was the rock “foundation” of the church.
The other popular interpretation of the rock is that Jesus was referring not to Peter, but to Peter’s confession of faith in verse 16: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus had never explicitly taught Peter and the other disciples the fullness of His identity, and He recognized that God had sovereignly opened Peter’s eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was. His confession of Christ as Messiah poured forth from him, a heartfelt declaration of Peter’s personal faith in Jesus. It is this personal faith in Christ which is the hallmark of the true Christian. Those who have placed their faith in Christ, as Peter did, are the church. Peter expresses this in 1 Peter 2:4 when he addressed the believers who had been dispersed around the ancient world: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
I lean more to the idea that Jesus is the Rock. Peter made a correct statement of this, yet Peter’s name meaning “rock” likewise cannot be denied. I just simply look at God as a many faceted God and we can look at this scripture in either way.
A side note here is that I’m a musician. Been so since I was fifteen. One thing I’ve learned about music, for me at least, is that I can see music in dimensions much similar to looking at the line drawing of a 3-d box. Some say you see it from the bottom, others say you see it from the top, yet it’s still a box no matter how you look at it.
So if you see Peter as the focal point of this revelation, so be it, but I think Peter acknowledged that Jesus is the rock or stone that is the cornerstone of which the church was to be built. A cornerstone removed from a building will cause its collapse. So to me it has to be the revelation that Jesus is the Rock.
Psalm 18:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?
Jesus came for a manifold reason, but I’ll only speak of two. First and foremost it was to reconcile man to God by His one-time sacrifice. But He was also into showing man who the Father is. He did it by example.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
Jesus’ main thrust in ministry was to show the world His father, that being God. I wonder some times that this may be the reason why when He’d heal someone, He’d say to go and tell no one so as to know draw attention to Himself or as stated upon the revelation of Him by Peter where He directed the disciples to not reveal what He had spoken of.