Reflections: January 18, 2021
The Confession of St. Peter
By William K. Stottlemyer
"Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." (Mark 8:33)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the text for today we see how quickly Peter goes from a great confession of faith upon which the Church is built to the depths of sin and the power of the devil. How could such a thing happen in such a short period of time? How could Peter go from acknowledging Christ to being a pawn of the devil? It all comes down to things of God versus the things of men. When Peter was focused on listening to God's Word and confessing it back to God, then Peter's mind was on the things of God. However, as soon as Peter began to rebuke Jesus and His plan for the salvation of the world by His death on the Cross, then Peter's mind was on the things of man. He had fallen into sin and the power of Satan.
We should think on this distinction. A Christian must daily struggle to put his mind on the things of God. Our lives are filled with distractions. We struggle against our own flesh and blood. Our mind constantly desires to set itself above the things of God. This is sinful; we must repent of it, or we will be setting our minds on the things of man.
Jesus called Peter out for his sin. He rebuked him for desiring the things of Satan rather than setting his mind on the things of God. So it is with us, for when we are in church and as we hear the words of the Law proclaimed into our ears, Christ comes and rebukes us for our unbelief. By faith, upon hearing this message of the Law, we repent of our sin. Then our hearts and minds are ready for the things of God which are brought to us by the proclamation of the Gospel, the Word of grace, mercy, and peace that comes to us and brings healing by the blood of Christ shed on the Cross for us.
Listen to that Word. Let the things of God be ever before you. Stand firm in faith, setting your mind on Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
One thing's needful; Lord, this treasure. Teach me highly to regard. All else, though it first gives pleasure, Is a yoke that presses hard! Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving, No lasting happiness ever deriving. This one thing is needful; all others are vain I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain! ("One Thing's Needful" LSB 536, st.1)
-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
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