I have decided to look at Matthew 16 because that's where the events of the story became sensitive to my life (because Matthew is the book I'm reading through for my Spiritual Formations class). The events unfolded more specifically in verses 13-18,
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
It is hard not to admit that Peter has made an excellent proclamation here. Obviously, Peter is correct when he asserts that Jesus is the Son of God. It is clear that Peter isn't just saying this, but actively believes it, as Jesus validates what Peter has said by explaining that it was revealed to him by God.
So we must understand as we follow this passage onward that Peter truly holds to the correct belief that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Thus, it seems odd that immediately after these events, Matthew tells us (as does Mark), that Peter rebukes Jesus for explaining that He must die for salvation to occur before all men. In verses 21-23,
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
It seems that while Peter knows who Jesus is, he hasn't quite acknowledged the importance of that fact. While Peter knows that Jesus has ultimate authority on earth, he somehow still thinks he knows enough to be able to rebuke the Son of the living God.
I wouldn't be too quick to judge here; after all, God had revealed to Peter who Jesus is. I also wouldn't be too quick to judge Peter here because I think I struggle with much of the same tendency. I know who Christ is, but I don't seem to acknowledge the importance of the fact.
I may not necessarily rebuke the Lord for his actions, but I do spend far too much time looking for my own support rather the Lord's in troublesome situations. I do spend far too much time "savoring the things that be of men," rather than those that are of God.
I wonder how many Christians go around, knowing God and yet not living as though that should have any effect on their life. As if they were self-sufficient without God in their lives to begin with. But that's absurd.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. We should probably trust His power and authority in our life.