Peter knew, the Spirit revealed to him, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God! (Matthew 16:16) It was a bold statement. And Peter, who had a few short chapters earlier experienced walking on a storm-tossed sea, said it with conviction. I imagine Peter standing a little taller after the “you’re the son of God” statement. He had, of all of them, figured it out and now was being called “a rock” and given the keys of the kingdom!
Jesus, knowing everything about all of us, knew that Peter would have an attitude correction soon enough. Can you imagine what it would have felt like to be called “Satan” by someone who had just praised your revelatory abilities?! Despite this lapse, Peter is still a witness to the transfiguration and other amazing events before he denies Jesus in his time of emotional need.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be hard-pressed to call someone a rock that I knew was going to betray me when I needed them. Jesus saw in Peter more than what was obvious from his current behaviour and attitude. If we are to be safe people, we must be able to see beyond the surface and see into people’s hearts.
Sometimes that requires taking a risk. I think of the people who have done that for me. Because they believed in me, I began to be able to believe in myself. Then I was truly able to allow the Holy Spirit to direct my life. Prior to that, I had limited what God could do through me because I didn’t really think he could, or would, work through me.
Jesus saw people’s hearts, and risked his love on them.