The last couple of days have found me laid up. I’m antsy and restless, so accustomed to being on the constant go, rushing from one thing to the next, that not being able to pick up and go has been a frustrating challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days I love nothing more than to sit around and do absolutely nothing. But as my mind buzzes with all the things that need doing, being stuck in the house because of physical challenges is a new experience. Yet, one that God uses just the same.
I was in the Word, reading over Matthew 16 again. If you remember, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the only sign proving who Messiah is can be found in the story of Jonah (in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights.)
Now, my rabbi, Matthew Salathe always points out that God doesn’t waste words. If He deems to mention something then He has a reason for it. So as I was strolling through Matthew 16, I noticed Yeshua went out of His way to refer to Peter as ‘son of Jonah’ not long after His conversation with the religious leaders of His day.
Okay, so I backed up wanting to understand. First, I mentally removed the subtitles, chapters, and verses. I needed to look at the book as a whole, not partitioned off according to someone else’s understanding. The Word then flowed from the conversation Yeshua had with the leaders demanding a sign… to the sign of Jonah… to who do you say I am… to ‘you are Messiah’… to ‘son of Jonah, God revealed His truth to you’.
Simon, the son of the only sign that will prove Messiah is who He says He is.
Now before you go thinking I’ve got an answer to this ‘hmmm’, I’m sorry to disappoint. Sometimes, when I am in the Word I come away with more questions than I do answers. And more often than I’d like, God remains silent.
On most occasions I share the answers I find, but today I just wanted to share some questions. Maybe, if we put our heads together, God will reveal His puzzle to us collectively.
Here’s another ‘hmmm…’
After calling Peter the ‘son of Jonah’ (or the sign, as I like to think of it), Yeshua revealed that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and raised on the third day. Simon Peter (you remember, the son of the sign?) hollers “NO! IT MUST NOT BE!” To which Yeshua chastises him saying, “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.”
Then “six days later”
That phrase struck me. God purposefully said it was six days after this conversation. Why it struck me, I don’t know. But it did, so there must be something to learn. Six days, two sets of three.
Not only that, but it was this six days later that Yeshua took three of them – Peter, Jacob, and John – to a high mountain where they witnessed three of them – Yeshua, Moses, and Elijah – having a conversation.
Again, I don’t have the answer, other than a big ‘hmmmm’.
However, a lesson I did learn from this was what happened next. Peter, in the midst of this awesome thing happening, interrupted the conversation because he wanted to build three sukkot. And while he was speaking/interrupting, God showed up in a bright cloud and said, “Shut up and LISTEN.”
Once more poor Peter had his mind set on things of men rather than God. Here he was, so excited about what he was witnessing that he wanted to do something great, something godly. Yet God told him to shut up and listen.
I can definitely relate.
I am so anxious to get moving for God with the things He’s planted in my heart, that I am forgetting to listen for his marching orders first.
It reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with an Episcopal priest. He told me that I get so excited to do the work of God that I’m like a football player who doesn’t wait for his quarterback to call the play. I hear that I’m the receiver and will run the touchdown, but without all the particulars I end up catching the ball and running a touch down for the opposing team.
Like Peter, the son of the sign, the man who three times denied Messiah, I have to learn to shut up and listen.