Today’s reading from Matthew talks about the identity of Jesus. Matthew is saying that there is a difference between who the world says Jesus is and who the disciples (specifically Peter) say Jesus is. The world says Jesus is a prophet come back from the dead. Peter says Jesus is the Son of the living God.
For Matthew’s readers, Peter’s confession is the threshold of a new era. Declaring that Jesus is not one of the prophets marks the moment when the Old Testament becomes “Old” and the kingdom of heaven begins. Peter is given the “keys” to this kingdom and told to start admitting people through its gates. In our own day, we must remember to keep those gates open if we want to build the Church.
Christ renews our minds, allowing us to know who he truly is and to live lives that are pleasing to God. Specifically, he asks us to build his Church — the only place of true refuge and welcome for all people this world has ever known — using the unique gifts he has given each one of us.
Preached by the Rev. Jake Dell on August 27, 2017 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.