Matthew 16:17

“And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.””

So I recently wrote on Matthew 16:16 and my history with that verse. I’m proud of what I wrote, and I believe that what I wrote really was pretty good. BUT… The same evening that I posted that entry, my pastor spoke about that very same verse in a class I’m taking at church. As he spoke more in depth about the verse, and the verses following, I thought, “Wow. How shallow is my writing? Will I ever be able to go deeper with God, plumbing the depths of His wisdom in the Scriptures?” Then I thought, “Well, maybe I’m not supposed to do that here. Maybe I’m supposed to keep this in the lighter side and simply reveal the truth of MY life and my experiences with God. I can make that deep enough. (Or at least pile it higher and drier than most. lol!).”

So you folks tell me, do you want me going deeper, fluffier, or do you like my posts just the way they are? I’ll listen to what you have to say. I may or may not end up doing it, but I’ll surely give you a listen.

Matthew 16:16

When I was a kid, about 10 years old, as far as I can remember, my neighbor and best friend Linda was going to a group at a church. While I thought I would never forget, I find that the ravages of time are proving me wrong on that, and I don’t remember what the group was called. I do remember that we often had the childhood version of an highly intellectual debate over which group was better, her group or Girl Scouts. (“My group is better.” “No, mine is.” “No, mine is.” No, MINE is.” “NO, MINE is.”)

Anyway, I went with her one time as a visitor. I was reluctant as it was held in a church, but went because she was my best friend. Many of the activities were similar to Girl Scouts, until… “Okay everyone, get out your Bibles…” What? Bible? I don’t have a Bible. What do we have to do with a Bible? “It’s time for Scripture memorization.” WHAT!? What do you mean I have to memorize something from the Bible!?

Yep, that’s right. Everyone had to memorize a verse – right then and there – and recite it to the group. Wow. Right there, I knew Girl Scouts was better!!! But I was stuck. I had no choice but to comply. So, someone loaned me a Bible and I flipped through the pages. I sort of remember my thought process, looking for something short and easy to remember, but not embarrassingly short. I was, after all, a guest, representing my friend Linda. And so, I memorized a verse.

Thirty five years later, as a new seeker, not yet committed in my heart to follow Jesus, not really sure of anything going on in my life at the time, but knowing that I’m at a breaking point and something’s got to change ‘cuz life as I know it is NOT working. So, I start reading the Bible. And I get to Matthew 16:16, memorized, but long since forgotten, planted, laying dormant in the ground for decades, ’til one day it bursts forth, having been watered and tended beneath the surface for all this time.

“And Simon Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.””

As I read that morning, some 35 years or so after memorizing that verse, it all came back to me. I remembered the frustration of having to do the memorization. I remembered the oddly satisfied feeling that I didn’t understand while I was doing it. And I remembered the thrilling rush when I accomplished the task that I did not want to do. And I realized the Glory of God, that day, as I thought about the planning to get me set up for just this point in time, when I would do all this remembering. And I realized that God really does think about me and care for me, and work for my good at all times, even in the games of ten year olds, and the debate about Girl Scouts or whatever.

Learning More Every Day

I knew there had to be a way. And I finally figured it out. Now I don’t have to worry about how to get content off of the tablet word processor and into some form, place, format, someTHING to get it to post online. I knew there had to be a way to write right in WordPress in an offline mode, and today I found it. Unfortunately, that is one of the benefits of being sick. There’s actually time to figure out things that you don’t normally have the time to work through. So now, I have no excuse for not posting. I can write whenever I want, and then post when I get to a wifi area.

I love being inn learning mode, even when I’m not sick. Hmmmmm. That doesn’t sound quite right, but I think you know what I mean. I just love learning. I always have. It’s a great, cheap thrill when I get that “AH HA! moment.” There’s a special satisfaction that comes when you finally figure out something that you’ve been trying to figure out for quite some time. Or the general pleasure that comes from the continuous learning mode of taking a class. It’s all good. I love it all.

And I’ve been in learning mode again as I’ve moved on to my next class at Berean School of the Bible. This class is an overview of the life of Christ as written about in the synoptic gospels. (The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. Though they are written to different audiences, they are similar in the way they are written, detailing the things Jesus did. John is a bit different, dealing more with theology. John wrote later, from his exile on the island of Patmos, having more time to reflect over the events of his time spent with Jesus.) I’ve been praying about a topic to write about here, to again fulfill my class requirement. So far there has been no specific theme recommend itself like there was for Old Testament Survey. But there’s been so much to learn. Jesus said and did so much. It’s really amazing. John even says at the end of his gospel, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 ESV).

That is such an awesome thought, a world full of books! It makes me think of an old Twilight Zone episode. Burgess Meredith plays a meek banker who loves to read. He’s reading all the time. His wife bullies him, his boss and co-workers bully him, everyone makes fun of him for reading so much. One day he goes to the bank’s vault to read during his lunch break. While he’s in there, the then feared atomic war happens, but he’s protected by the vault. He comes out to a completely devastated world. He wanders aimlessly through the rubble until he happens upon the library. Books upon books upon book, and no one left around to bully or disturb his reading. With glee, he starts lining the books up on the steps of the library, stacking them up in anticipation of uninterrupted reading. He sits, leans forward to pick up the first book, and his glasses fall off, hit the ground and break. The final scene is him sitting there crying, muttering, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”