Almost All Wrong

My grasp on soccer is, at best, average. I've kicked the ball around a little, and I watch a few matches on TV (every four years). During this World Cup, I learned one very important thing: the difference between a worthy win and an undeserved win. Even more so than in other sports, a clearly weaker team can "steal a win" with a last second or a lucky goal. Sometimes, the other team will even score it for you.

Matthew 16 paints the picture of a clearly weaker team, the 12 men Jesus picked to be his "apostles." In the first half of the chapter, Jesus has a rough conversation with the a group of religious leaders, again, who just will not accept the freedom and power his life is clearly demonstrating. Frustrated (I imagine), he turns to his guys and tells them to "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees." He means to warn them about the harm of these supposed religious guides' poor understanding, but his own closest followers misunderstand. "He's mad because we didn't bring any bread!" Jesus, as usual, patiently explains that he is not talking about bread. And patiently reminds them of two, very recent events in which he turned just a few loaves of bread into enough to feed thousands. In other words, when it comes to understand who Jesus was, what he was able to do, what he meant for them to be aware of, his closest disciples were getting it almost all wrong.

But not completely. The chapter ends with Peter's well spoken leap of faith. "Yes, Jesus, though I barely grasp what it means, though I have and will continue to stumble and trip, though we all have 'played poorly,' yes, Jesus, I believe you are the one I can trust and are the one God has sent for us all."

A well-placed "goal" right at the end. A worthy step forward. 

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