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Meditation: Beyond Revelation

Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for this was revealed to you not by man, but by my Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) With these words Jesus confirmed his identity as the anointed One, the Messiah and Christ.

Simon Peter had correctly answered Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” Jesus declared that Peter’s answer came not by human reasoning but by direct revelation from God Himself. What I find challenging are two specific verses that come just after this high point of revelation.

Verse 21: “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Even though the disciples had received revelation of Jesus’ divine identity, there was still more to be explained. The revelation brought them to a place unattainable by human wisdom, but Jesus had more to say, more to teach. Revelation, by itself, was not enough—they needed Jesus to explain what it meant in practical terms. I believe the Father still provides moments of divine revelation today, but just like that day at Caesarea Philippi, we need the revelation explained. Our own understanding is never enough.

Verse 24: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus had even more to say to the disciples. After they recovered from the shock of what the Christ would suffer, Jesus explained they, too, had a destiny that involved the cross. Like Jesus, the disciples would have to choose to take up the cross and follow him. If revelation needs explanation, then after the explanation we must respond: am I “in,” or out? God’s revelation is not FYI. It demands a response from us.

My prayer this week: Father, beyond revelation, please give me the grace to seek your insight, and to respond with my whole heart, Amen.

Reader Comments (4)

Your point about revelation not being enough, in and of itself, is so true. More than once in my life, I've felt sure God was revealing something important to me, yet I either had no idea what it was or I thought I knew exactly what it was and later saw that my interpretation was wrong. It's definitely a frustrating place to be—realizing God has told you something, but what?—but I'm slowly learning to be more open, more expectant, and less quick to draw conclusions.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin T. (@kt_writes)

Thanks for dropping by, Kristin. I'm with you--I've had the exact same sense of knowing God had spoken to me and still struggling both to understand and make decisions based on what I had sensed from God.

Poor Peter: I think he faced this more than the one example above. In Acts 10 he had a vision (trance?) that can only be described as disturbing, yet it contained revelation that he did not understand until after the Holy Spirit made a big move in the next chapter. Likewise, I think Peter projects his own experience on to the Old Testament Prophets: "The prophets searched carefully and tried to learn about this salvation. They prophesied about the grace that was coming to you. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets, telling in advance about the sufferings of Christ and about the glory that would follow those sufferings. The prophets tried to learn about what the Spirit was showing them, when those things would happen, and what the world would be like at that time. It was shown them that their service was not for themselves but for you, when they told about the truths you have now heard." (1 Peter 1: 10-12)

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRay Hollenbach

I can always come here expecting a meaty word. I love being challenged & uncomfortable with your posts. Thank you. I am growing.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterA

Well, A, if "being made uncomfortable" is a good thing, then thanks very much for the compliment! The truth is we should all be challenged daily to follow him, don't you think? Peace to you.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRay Hollenbach

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