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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
(Part 142)

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. Why?

Here we learn about 3 dangers for anointed and appointed servant leaders.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Servant 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).

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