The disciples have travelled close behind Jesus since he called them to “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:22; see also 8:22; 9:9). It was time to find out why. “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13), Jesus asked the twelve men who had watched him heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead, challenge those in power, and speak with the authority of heaven. An answer is demanded of every person who ever lived, and those who believe will respond as Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Peter gave the correct answer, but failed to grasp the full meaning. Jesus may be God, but he said he was going to die, and Peter rebuked him, “This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). How can God die? But if the man you just called God says he is going to die, you don’t tell God, “No,” and Peter did.
What Peter was yet to understand was how to be saved. On the cross, Jesus would show Peter how to be saved, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). A lifeguard knows the most difficult people to save are those trying to save themselves. “Whoever would save his life will lose it,” Jesus warns. Rather, when we give up and place our lives in the hands of the lifeguard, we will be carried to the safety of the shore. “But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Peter rightly recognizing Jesus is God, now must lose himself and place his life in the hands of his Savior.
Eternal God, no beginning, no end, you are all in all. I chase things that I want, things that get used up or rust or fall apart. Things that cannot and do no last, and will not save me. Everything about You lasts forever.
Change my heart, God, to seek what matters. To love what lasts. To love You, to love Your Word, and to love people. To let go of all else and chase what matters.