The PromiseWho Do You Say That I Am
Peter is one of my favorite fellas from the Bible.
I can often find my story in his. He was a favorite of Jesus as well. Peter often gets a bad rap for his impulsive, headstrong, and occasional disastrous conclusions, but I love him for his ardent and fierce trust. I love him because he wasn’t afraid to risk, to try, even if he got it wrong.
I imagine him as that confident kid in high school you wanted to hang out with, at least until the cops came. He was the cool kid who drove the muscle car way too fast; it was awesome until he crashed it into a tree stump while doing donuts in
Peter was a pioneer, a revolutionary, and wasn’t afraid to go first. He let everyone else know it could be done, albeit, better and with more style. Peter encouraged and empowered following generations into believing.
There is this one story where Peter shows us the way into our future through his own radical discovery of his. He found his promise in the discovery of the Promise Giver, and in so doing showed us the keys to discover ours.
Jesus, walking one day with His disciples, asked a question, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter rushed in, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded to Peter, “You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God Himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am” (Matt. 16:17 MSG).
Now here’s the deal: everywhere Jesus went, every breath He ever took, every smile and tear, everything He did, every word He spoke, was meant to do one thing—reveal God as Father. Jesus told the disciples continually that He came to show us the Father. He said, “If you really know Me, you will know My Father as well” (John 14:7), and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11). So I imagine Jesus was thrilled with Peter’s statement as it was directly from Father God.
Peter looked at Jesus and met the Father. He got it!
After Jesus let Peter know where his revelation came from, He continued with a personal enlightening message from the Father: “And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together My church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out” (Matt. 16:18-19 MSG).
Can you imagine this scene? Peter, while describing Jesus, meets Father God and is then given his promise. Peter discovered his promise through the discovery of the Promise Giver. But Jesus wasn’t finished:
“And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven” (Matthew 16:19 MSG).
These verses absolutely astound me. Not only is Peter given his promise in the form of his identity, but he is then given his promise in the form of his inheritance as a son of God. It was as if Jesus were saying, “Peter, as you keep your eyes on Me, you will discover there are no barriers, no measurable limits to My promises—all impossibilities become possibilities. When you keep your eyes on Me, you won’t live chasing an ever-elusive promise, you will live smack in the middle it. When you see Me, you can see your true self, and all the promises I have given you. And these promises will powerfully transform you, the lives around you, and the lives to come.”
This story tells us that if we want to know who we are, if we want to know what we are called to do, if we want to know what we have access to, if we want to know and live smack in the middle of our promise, then we must keep our eyes on the Promise Giver. One revelation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit brings more clarity regarding
I’m not suggesting Bible study and good messages aren’t valuable, I’m simply noting they should always lead to Jesus and reveal the Father. It’s an encounter with God that reveals our promise and releases the keys to personal and then worldwide transformation.
Peter had many more bumbling adventures after he received his promise from the Father. He continued to display what getting it wrong looked like. However, he also continued to believe and trust, and he kept his eyes on Jesus and a yes in his heart. Along the way, his vision of Jesus became clearer and he continued to be transformed.
Many years after Jesus had risen and ascended, “people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by” (Acts 5:15). Peter’s shadow had authority to heal. The same Peter who got it wrong so many times before discovered a believing that led to a personal transformation that ended up changing the world.
I haven’t always fully known what my promise looks like, I haven’t always been able to describe it, but I am learning, and I think it’s a little like “God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven” (Matt. 16:19 MSG).
I am discovering that if I’m willing to surrender—my heart for His—I get to engage and experience all His heart offers. I think that’s what untamed living is all about—coalescing my promise with His purpose, His love.
I believe we all have a one-of-a-kind promise from God: His Kingdom of heaven birthed within us. This promise is unique to every individual, is discovered in a revelation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and lives in our hearts. And His promises are greater than anything we could ask for or even imagine. His promises are invitations to believe, step out, risk, trust, and fail; to discover Jesus, be transformed, and walk in the authority of heaven.
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus is still asking us this question today. It’s an extended hand to take an untamed adventure, to live a world-changing faith.
This is an excerpt from my new book Untamed, A Fools Guide to Surrendered Faith.