2017 2nd Quarter
Lesson 1, March 25-31, The Person of Peter
Monday, March 27
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” KJV, Matthew 16:13-20, emphasis added.
“After Peter’s confession, Jesus charged the disciples to tell no man that He was the Christ. This charge was given because of the determined opposition of the scribes and Pharisees. More than this, the people, and even the disciples, had so false a conception of the Messiah that a public announcement of Him would give them no true idea of His character or His work. But day by day He was revealing Himself to them as the Saviour, and thus He desired to give them a true conception of Him as the Messiah.
“The disciples still expected Christ to reign as a temporal prince. Although He had so long concealed His design, they believed that He would not always remain in poverty and obscurity; the time was near when He would establish His kingdom. That the hatred of the priests and rabbis would never be overcome, that Christ would be rejected by His own nation, condemned as a deceiver, and crucified as a malefactor,—such a thought the disciples had never entertained. But the hour of the power of darkness was drawing on, and Jesus must open to His disciples the conflict before them. He was sad as He anticipated the trial.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, 414, 415, emphasis added.)
“The Lord expects those who believe in Christ to co-operate with divine instrumentalities, and thus reveal a strength that the worldling can not reveal. God is dishonored, and his cause is reproached, when the Christian shows less zeal, less self-denial, in his strife for the mastery over evil, than do those who are striving for the mastery over the things of the world.
“We know not how soon our probation may close. How dare those who know the truth live in unpreparedness, not ready to meet their Lord? How dare they remain sinful and defiled? Why are they not afraid? Why do they not realize their peril? The weakness of the church is due to its unbelieving, unconverted, unsanctified members. The Lord would work mightily for his people if they would put off the works of darkness, and be clothed with his righteousness. He calls upon every one who names the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity, to be ‘not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.’
“God calls upon those who profess to believe the truth to show by unquestioning obedience that they are faithful soldiers of the cross. Let not those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel do anything that will dishonor the cause for which they are fighting. Christ expects his soldiers to be brave and loyal and true.
“The work that Christ did on this earth his followers are to do. With the power and efficacy brought by the Holy Spirit they are to carry forward his plan for the restoration of the divine image in humanity. The Lord will do great things for them when they work under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But they must place their entire dependence on God.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, February 18, 1904, emphasis added.)