Jesus, Peter, the Church, Salvation & Discipleship
The sine qua non of the Christian faith is that Jesus is the Christ.
Scripture read carefully interprets itself. The Spirit reveals outward Word through inner confirmation. Peter's confession that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God" is in all three gospels. Peter did not come by that answer through reason but revelation by the Holy Spirit. Doesn't mean we can't think about God's Word or ask questions. It would be silly not to continue to seek once we have discovered the greatest truth in the world. Seeking (study) leads to answers. Central truth that Jesus is the anointed one.
2. The "firsts" of Peter is his confession (revelation) not his authority.
Two high views of Peter: traditional disciple with timeless insight or the first papal leader as Catholics believe. Peter was the first called by Jesus although his brother Andrew brought him to Christ. Bible is clear that James was the head of the Church at Jerusalem and had command function over John, Paul and Peter or sent them out to witness. Great figure in Christian history but not any higher than others.
3. The church is the instrument of Christ's salvation. It holds the keys to heaven.
Church has defensive power, but all the translations are looking for a way to describe terribleness of being with out God. Hades, hell, death, Sheol, watery abyss, etc. Translate as death because of mans fear of death. The Church properly understood is protected from darkness, sin and death. Clear that they keys to heaven are in Christ's hands. He frees believers from these fears. When Church is faithful in proclamation; it opens doors to seeker. If Church is fake, seekers turn away. Be faithful to God in all that you do.
4. Salvation cost Jesus his earthly life after great suffering on the cross.
Jesus immediately (in all three Gospels) begins to show the disciples what he will suffer. Can't fast with the bridegroom here. No sign except story of Jonah three days in belly of fish. Peter goes from Rock to stumbling block. Typical problem of Church, our ideas are better than God's. We must seek to do God's will through prayer then action.
5. Discipleship is about two crosses and two lives.
All Gospel teachings are followed with demands. "What will one give for one's life?" Earthly life and eternal life second dependent on the first. Two crosses belief in first and taking action in the second. Jesus expects us to have a cross life showing mercy and love at cost. We have the chance to become players in salvation history. Kingdom of God is close when we serve Him.