When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
Peter “got it!” He knew Jesus well, and knew who he was. Peter identified Jesus as the Messiah before anyone else did, and what’s more he said it out loud. He claimed it boldly, and Jesus responded to him with words of blessing.
Immediately after this incident, Jesus told his disciples the plan. He would go to Jerusalem, undergo great suffering, and be killed. And Peter replied, “God forbid! Surely there’s another way we could do this, Lord?”
Peter “didn’t get it.” He knew Jesus, but he didn’t see the full picture, much less concur with the plan. Peter couldn’t abide the thought of Jesus suffering and being killed. He voiced his opposition, and Jesus responded again.
But these were not words of blessing; this was a curse. “Get behind me! You are Satan! You are a stumbling block to me!”
Whoa - harsh.
What happened there? How did Peter get is so right one moment and so very wrong the next? How could Peter have understood so much about Jesus and yet at the very same time understood so very little about him?
The truth is, there are times you and I get it right, too. There are times that God seems very close to us and following Jesus is energizing and joyful. And there are times we fail. We can’t find God anywhere and it feels as if we’ve forgotten all we’ve ever known about Jesus and what it means to follow him.
We are Peter. Knowing Jesus doesn’t mean we are perfect, it just means we know Jesus. And that’s a pretty good deal, because knowing Jesus means we don’t HAVE to be perfect to be forgiven, to be blessed. Knowing Jesus means we do not have to be perfect to be loved.