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Ambon Prayer 70
Of More Value than Death Itself
Paul and Peter were men of their time
Both were strong Jewish patriots
Both were part of Messianic movements
Both had a strong sense of honor and shame
Both believed in the resurrection of the dead, but found their meaning in giving their lives for the cause - only if necessary
Jesus turned these values on their head
Peter is called to die for a criminal
The disciples are asked privately who others believed Jesus to be - usually a prophet
The disciples are asked who they believe Jesus to be and Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
That meant a Messianic Kingdom of Israel with Jesus reigning as the ultimate Son of David and adopted Son of God
Jesus affirms Peter: You are rock and upon this rock I will build my community.
But he affirms the divinely inspired meaning, which went beyond Peter’s.
Peter had authority, the Key of David with heavenly power, but the Church would be fighting death itself.
Then Jesus calls Peter to follow him, not to a throne, but to a cross - shame, dishonor, failure.
That is the way to the kingdom.
And Peter, true follower that he was, did just that.
What a change of perspective.
Paul is called to lay down all the honor and purity for which he had fought
While he “had it all” in terms of Judaism, he gave it all in terms of being a slave of Christ.
He lists numerous severe shameful and horrible sufferings for Jesus
He goes on to his “most embarrassing moment,” his shameful escape from Damascus
He did have visions and revelations, but he lists the main one as if it had happened to someone else and only does so to point out that it resulted in a “thorn in the flesh” and that God’s response to his prayer was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul’s response was what we have already seen in him: turn his thinking upside down and glory in his weakness and shame, for it revealed the power and presence of God.
Here, then, brothers and sisters, are our two pre-eminent apostles, our examples.
They are indeed our authorities and leaders - do not ignore them.
But they are our leaders to the bottom, to shame and suffering, for if we follow them we will pick up our crosses and follow Jesus, we will “glory in our shame” for the sake of Jesus, we will gladly bear our “thorn in the flesh” for Jesus.
And there at the bottom we will meet the Jesus, Son of the Living God, whom Peter and Paul have led us to.
2 Corinthians 11:21–12:9
21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever any one dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that.
22 Are they Hebrews?
So am I. Are they Israelites?
So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham?
So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ?
I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
24 Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
25 Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned.
Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak?
Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for ever, knows that I do not lie.
32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.
12 I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.
6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth.
But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2022 | FIXED FEASTS
HOLY APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL
Matins Gospel John 21:15–25
Epistle 2 Corinthians 11:21–12:9
Gospel Matthew 16:13–19
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