Thursday, July 05, 2007

Deep Thoughts

Last night I began research on a new study ... and started with "Foxe's Book of Martyrs". I read the first paragraph and got lost in thought! Read this:

Christ our Savior, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, hearing the confession of Simon Peter, who, first of all other, openly acknowledged Him to be the Son of God, and perceiving the secret hand of His Father therein, called him (alluding to his name) a rock, upon which rock He would build His Church so strong that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. In which words three things are to be noted: First, that Christ will have a Church in this world. Secondly, that the same Church should mightily be impugned, not only by the world, but also by the uttermost strength and powers of all hell. And, thirdly, that the same Church, notwithstanding the uttermost of the devil and all his malice, should continue.

Which prophecy of Christ we see wonderfully to be verified, insomuch that the whole course of the Church to this day may seem nothing else but a verifying of the said prophecy. First, that Christ hath set up a Church, needeth no declaration. Secondly, what force of princes, kings, monarchs, governors, and rulers of this world, with their subjects, publicly and privately, with all their strength and cunning, have bent themselves against this Church! And, thirdly, how the said Church, all this notwithstanding, hath yet endured and holden its own! What storms and tempests it hath overpast, wondrous it is to behold: for the more evident declaration whereof, I have addressed this present history, to the end, first, that the wonderful works of God in His Church might appear to His glory; also that, the continuance and proceedings of the Church, from time to time, being set forth, more knowledge and experience may redound thereby, to the profit of the reader and edification of Christian faith.

As it is not our business to enlarge upon our Savior's history, either before or after His crucifixion, we shall only find it necessary to remind our readers of the discomfiture of the Jews by His subsequent resurrection. Although one apostle had betrayed Him; although another had denied Him, under the solemn sanction of an oath; and although the rest had forsaken Him, unless we may except "the disciple who was known unto the high-priest"; the history of His resurrection gave a new direction to all their hearts, and, after the mission of the Holy Spirit, imparted new confidence to their minds. The powers with which they were endued emboldened them to proclaim His name, to the confusion of the Jewish rulers, and the astonishment of Gentile proselytes.

That is absolutely profound! I have never looked at that passage in Matthew 16 as a prophecy, but it is so cool to consider the implications. I apologize for the fact that you have to read through ancient grammar ... it's good for you! And it's only 3 paragraphs, right? If you skimmed it, please just take a few moments and read through it slowly. The language will soon become beautiful to you. And the words carry a deep meaning.

Here's the passage from Matthew that Foxe is speaking of: (Matthew 16:13-20)

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Not only did Jesus reveal himself as the Son of God to Peter, but He revealed the purpose of Peter's life and revealed the beginning of an amazing shift in thinking.

There are so many pieces to process on in this passage now that Foxe has opened my mind to new interpretations of it. I will no longer be able to read it without considering how Jesus changed the thinking of the disciples.

The 'church' did not exist at all. This was a new beginning. Peter would be the foundation of this new beginning. Jesus Christ gave Peter power over heaven and earth in this conversation.

I don't know yet what I'm going to do with this information. I'm probably going to let it roll around a bit in my head. This is the stuff that warms me up and makes me realize how thankful I am for God's Word. I do know that I am going to have to keep reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs. You can too ... Foxe was born in 1516. Everything he wrote is in the public domain!

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