Simon, Son of Jonah

Simon, Son of Jonah 日本語訳
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English Service on February 18

Messenger: Pastor Jim Allison

Matthew 16:13-20 

“Simon, Son of Jonah”


Since Easter last year, on English worship Sundays the messages have focused on seeing Jesus through Old Testament characters whose lives are types of Christ.  That is, they point ahead and show us what the coming Messiah will be like.  After nine messages on this theme, we are going to move on today to something else, but I first want to point out that there are really many more types in the Bible.  We have learned about well-known people such as Adam and Moses, but God speaks about the coming Christ through various minor characters, as well as through other forms.  


For example, you may remember the story in Exodus of God’s bringing water out of a rock to provide it for His people when they were at risk of dying of thirst in the desert.  Then in the New Testament (I Corinthians 10:4), He tells us, “That rock was Christ.”  The Temple is another example of an object that is a type of Christ.  Throughout the Bible, God chooses the Temple as His home, the place where He will be in a special way.  When we get to the time of Jesus, we read from John 2:18-21:


Then the Jews asked him, “What miraculous sign can you show us?  Can you prove your authority to do all of this?” 

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple. I will raise it up again in three days.” 

The Jews replied, “It has taken 46 years to build this temple. Are you going to raise it up in three days?”  But the temple Jesus had spoken about was his body.


And later the Bible says (I Corinthians 6:19), “Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?  The Spirit is in you.”


Again, if you want to know Christ, you need to look throughout God’s word to find Him.  There is much to discover there if you will ask God to teach you and take the time to read His word carefully.  


Here once more, as I do from time to time, I want to strongly encourage you to make and keep the habit of spending some quiet time with God every day, learning His word—the Bible—and communicating with Him in prayer.  As one of your pastors, I feel like this is one of the most important things I can lead you to do.  Study and prayer are two spiritual disciplines that every Christian needs to practice regularly.  They are as vital to the life of our spirits as eating food is to the life of our bodies.  If you think, “I’ll eat food, but not until I’ve finished all my work and returned these phone calls and answered my e-mail,” you may never be able to have eating habits that lead to a balanced lifestyle and healthy body.  In the same way as you need the habit of eating routinely, you need regularly to have a time of focused listening to God’s voice through His word and talking with Him about what is on your heart.  


There are other disciplines, too, and people of faith for thousands of years have found that they can be very helpful if you use them in ways that meet your particular needs.  For example, if you have trouble avoiding gossiping, the discipline of silence can help you with it.  If you struggle with trusting God to meet your needs and you create various problems when you try to meet them yourself, the practice of fasting can teach your spirit to rely on God to give you what you need.  If you know you should help poor people but don’t, fasting can become a way to understand some of the feelings of people who have no food.  It can lead you to serve them.  If loneliness is damaging your life, the practice of Christian fellowship may be what you need.  If you see a grim and joyless person when you look in the mirror, making the habit of celebration may lead you to be a more Christ-like Christian.  What disciplines might help you?


What I have said so far doesn’t relate directly to today’s Bible story, but I felt I needed to make these comments.  Now let’s turn to Jesus’ talk with Simon, Son of Jonah.  One day the Lord asks Him and the other disciples a big question, “Who do you say I am?”  


Peter gives the right answer.  He confesses that Jesus is “the Christ,” “the Son of the living God” (v. 16).      


Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  No mere man showed this to you.  My Father in heaven showed it to you” (Matthew 16:17).  Wow!  That must feel great to be blessed by the Messiah Himself!  This is Peter’s shining moment!  But this little conversation raises various questions.  Let’s spend our remaining time looking at the answers to five of them.  First, what does Jesus’ question tell us about Him?  Second, what does Peter’s answer show about him?  Third, what is the faith Jesus calls His followers to have?  Fourth, why does Jesus call him “Simon, son of Jonah”?  And, fifth, what light does this dialogue shine on the path ahead, the rest of Peter’s life?  And through all these questions and answers, what is Christ still saying to us who are His followers today?  


First, “Who do you say I am?”  God is not just a set of teachings, a great ideal for us to try to reach, or a force (as “the Force” is in Star Wars).  He is far more personal than that.  What you and I and all people think about Him is important to Him.  So He asks each of us this question, and sooner or later we actually do answer it in our own way.  Even if we choose not to think about it, or if we think deeply about it for many years but never reach a conclusion, never come to a point of deciding to believe in Him or not, these reactions in themselves become ways of answering His question.  


When we come to a point of responding to Him in faith and love, we answer together with Peter, “You are the Christ.  You are the Son of the living God” (v. 16).  In this way we become God’s children, He says.  We begin our journey of faith.  Peter does not answer, “My parents always took me to worship when I was a child.”  He doesn’t say, “I have a lot of friends who  

believe in God, and I read about faith and religion all the time.”  No, if we are followers of Christ, we each freely choose to receive Him into our hearts and minds as Savior and Lord.  As someone has said, God has no grandchildren.  He much prefers children.  He wants us to know Him as our Father in Heaven.      

Jesus’ question shows us the heart of the Father, deeply longing to bring us into His family but knowing that we have to freely choose to enter it by faith.  


Second, Peter’s answer shows that He is willing to follow as God leads him.  That is enough.  With that simple choice, he can begin his life of faith. 


Third, what is that faith, really?  Jesus’ words tell us something that is central to understanding this and our relationship with God but often forgotten.  

The Lord is working in Peter’s heart to plant the seed of faith there.  So Jesus tells him (v. 17), “No mere man showed this to you.  My Father in heaven showed it to you.”


Did you catch that?  It is worth understanding deeper.  Jesus says that faith begins with God.  We may hear people praise someone as a great man or woman of faith, someone who has achieved a deep spirituality through years of learning and service.  But that is not the kind of faith the Bible teaches at all.  Hebrews 12:2 says about Jesus, “He is the author of faith.  He also makes it perfect.”  Faith comes from God.  He also is the One who sustains and protects it.  He is the One who grows it to completion.  Our faith will never be perfect in this world, but He has set us on the path of growth toward perfect trust in Him.  And in His time, when He takes us to heaven, He will complete the process of forming us into the perfect, complete people He has always had in His dreams for us to be.   


That is what God means when He teaches us (Ephesians 2:8), “God's grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ.  Your salvation doesn't come from anything you do.  It is God's gift.”  As humans, we have a tendency to forget this basic fact of faith.  We think our chance for a “good life” (whatever we think that is) all depends on us—our making the right choices and working hard enough.  People in Bible times did, too.  So God, through Paul in Galatians 3:2-4, called them back to real faith in Christ.


I would like to learn just one thing from you.  Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law?  Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish?  You began with the Holy Spirit.  Are you now trying to complete God's work in you by your own strength?  Have you suffered so much for nothing?  And was it really for nothing?


On one hand, it is a humbling and uncomfortable thing to see that our lives of faith do not depend basically on us.  Understanding that takes me out of the center of things.  It takes control out of my hands.  I may resist that powerfully on the inside.  But in the end, seeing that God is in control is seeing the path to peace.  It is freeing and a great source of hope to know that the God who enabled us to have faith in Him in the first place is willing and able to sustain us in that faith each day.  That takes away any reason we may think we have to be proud, but it also takes the pressure off us.  No matter what happens to us in the uncertain days ahead, we can cling firmly to the great promise the Lord gives us in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure that the One who began a good work in you will carry it on until it is completed.  That will be on the day Christ Jesus returns.”  In the troubled time we live in today, that’s good news, isn’t it.


Fourth, Jesus has called Peter by the name of “Simon, Son of Jonah” (v. 17).  Why does He use that name?  It is not a strange thing to call him in this culture.  His name is Simon Peter, and his father’s name was Jonah, or John.  But there seems to be more.  If we read the rest of the story, we can get hints in the various ways Peter is like his namesake, the Old Testament prophet Jonah.  


We learned some things about him last month but didn’t have time to go into great detail.  One key to the story of Jonah and the big fish is to learn from Jonah’s mistakes.  God doesn’t seem to be telling us to follow this prophet as a great role model.  Not only does Jonah try to run away when God gives him a message, he doesn’t seem to care very much about the people he is sent to help.  When he finally gets to Nineveh, he preaches what might be the worst sermon of all time.  “In 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed” (Jonah 3:4b). That’s it, apparently.  All judgment and nothing about God’s grace and desire to forgive and bring the people of Nineveh into His family.  But the Lord uses this message anyway.  (There’s great hope here for us less-than-perfect preachers!) God somehow brings everyone there to repent, and He changes His mind and doesn’t punish them.  That means Jonah has a chance to rejoice with many new friends and share in the goodness of God’s love.  But he doesn’t.  Instead, he stays outside the city, waiting (maybe half hoping) for it to be destroyed.  He is glad when a plant grows up to keep him cool and comfortable, but he doesn’t seem happy at all that God has given life to so many people in Nineveh.  God has to scold him for being so upset when there is really good reason to celebrate.  Then the story suddenly ends!  


Wow!  How can we make sense of a set of events like that?  Peter’s story may actually help.  Many generations after the time of Jonah, Peter seems to have much of the same weakness and incompleteness and prejudice that Jonah had.  He seems to be the “Son of Jonah” in more ways than one.


Remember, Peter is the one who wants to step out of the boat in a storm and walk on water to Jesus, but then he gets all afraid, begins to sink, and has to have Jesus pull him out of the waves.  Soon after his “shining moment” of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, he tells Jesus not to talk about going to the cross and dying.  Christ tells him (Mark 8:33), “Get behind me, Satan!”  On the mountaintop when Jesus is transformed, Peter starts running his mouth, and God comes, as if to interrupt him, and tells him and the others to listen to Jesus.  In other words, Peter has a habit of speaking before thinking about things carefully.  Also, one night He is controlled by his passion and cuts off a man’s ear, trying to protect Jesus, only to be scolded by his Master again.  


Denying three times that He even knows Jesus, after openly announcing that he will never do such a thing, is probably his lowest point.  Peter, like Jonah, falls far short of being a model of faith.  Even after the cross, resurrection, and beginning of his work as a leader of the church, Peter seems to have racial prejudice against non-Jews.  Paul speaks against him openly because of this (Galatians 2:11).       


So when Jesus is talking with Peter in today’s story (Matthew 16), he knows that Peter’s immature character is going to keep getting him in trouble.  In calling him “Son of Jonah,” Jesus seems to be reminding him, “Peter, you still have a long way to go in growing into the person I want you to be.  But you don’t have to worry because your success doesn’t hang on you.  God found a way to use your namesake, Jonah, despite his many flaws, to do something great.  I can use you, too, just as you are.  I’ll help you do everything I put before you to do.”  When Peter chooses to accept that call and obey, God uses his life and work for great things, for work which continues bearing fruit long after he is gone.  He wants to do that in our lives, too.  We can find great comfort in this teaching when we see our own weakness of faith and character.  It can lead us to bright hope when it seems that the work before us is more than we have the power to complete.  


Fifth, Jesus continues by saying (v. 18), “You are Peter.  On this rock I will build my church.  The gates of hell will not be strong enough to destroy it.”  Again, it amazes us that Jesus would choose a person like Peter to be leader of any kind of organization at all, much less the Christian Church, His chosen tool for bringing salvation to the world’s people.  But He does.  The more honestly we look at ourselves, the more incredible it seems that God would choose people like us to do His work in the world today.  But He does.  


Maybe God chooses people like these because His work becomes clearer and clearer to see when He accomplishes it with broken tools such as them—and us.  Perhaps what the Lord sees in people like Jonah and Peter is a teachable spirit—not great skills, knowledge, or faith already there but a hunger to know and grow.  He may recognize a willingness in them to get up again and again after falling and welcome failure as an opportunity that God can use for good things.


In the end, only the Lord knows why, but what is clear is this: God plans to build His Church, and He routinely uses far-from-perfect people to accomplish that work.  He is not satisfied with the world the way it is—separated from Him and living outside His protection and blessing.  He is not satisfied with your life or mine the way they are.  He has far greater dreams for the people of love and faith that we can be with His help.  His plan to bring peace, health, and stability to our broken world is the Church.  You, I, Open Door as a whole, and millions of people around the world have our own roles to play in that work.  He calls us and many others by the name of Simon, Son of Jonah, to join with Him in building His Church.  Let’s pray that we will be able to answer in faith and love.


Lord of all, we are lost and alone without you.  But with you, anything is possible.  So help us to walk close to your side each day as you guide us through our lives’ journeys.  Help us to dare to dream big, love deeply, and act boldly, as you do, in living as your family of faith, the Church of Christ.  Through the power of your Spirit, enable us to know and become more like Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God.  In His name we pray, amen.        




                     マタイによる福音書  16章13節〜20節





  しかし、最初に断っておきたいのですが、聖書には本当に多くのキリストへの暗示があるのです。 これまでアダムやモーセといったよく知られている人物について学んできました。しかし神様は、この世に来られるキリストについて、様々な目立たない人々を通して。またそのほかの様態を通して語られているのです。

   例えば、出エジプト記で神様が、神様に従ってきた人々が砂漠で喉の渇きで死に瀕した時、岩から湧水を生じさせて与えたという箇所では、新約聖書(コリント第1の手紙10章4節)で「その岩とはキリストです。」とあるのです。神殿も違った形でのキリストの暗示の例です。聖書の全体を通して神様は神殿を“神様の家” すなわち、神様が特別な方法でおられる場所として選んでいます。


  “ ユダヤ人達はイエスに尋ねて言った。「あなたがこのようなことをする権威を証明できます

    か?  そのためにどの様な奇跡をしるしとして見せてくれますか?」イエスは答えて言われた。



 聖書の後半部分(コリント第1の手紙6章19節)では“あなた方の身体は聖霊の神殿なのを知らないのですか? 聖霊はあなた方の中におられます。” とあります。





  もし皆さんが、“食事をしましょう。でも、仕事が全部終わってからね。それと必要な電話をし終わってメールの返事を書いたらだけど” などと考えていると、バランスの取れたライフスタイルや健康的身体を維持するために必要な食生活を作ることはできないでしょう?規則正しい食事をする必要があるのと同じように、神様の言葉を通して神様の声を聞いて、皆さんの心の中にある ことについて神様と会話をするための特別な時間を作ることが大事なのです。








    ある日主は、シモンとほかの弟子達に非常に重要な質問をします。 それは「あなた方は私を誰だと思うか?」というものです。



























  私達は、人々が、信仰にたった偉大な男性や女性を賞賛するのを聞くことがあるかもしれません。 何年間もの学びや奉仕の結果、深い霊的で崇高なことを成し遂げたような人をです。しかし聖書で教えている信仰は全くそのようなものではありません。ヘブル人への手紙12章2節ではイエス様を“信仰の創始者であり、完成者であるイエス”とあります。信仰は神様から来るのです。イエス様は信仰を支え、守るお方であり、また、完成に向けて育てるお方でもあります。私達の信仰はこの世において決して完全となることはありません。しかし、イエス様は御自身を信頼する者の信仰を完全となるように成長の道筋を定められたのです。 そして、イエス様が私達を天の御国へ連れて行く時に、私達を完成へと形作るプロセスを完成させます。即ち、イエス様が絶えず私達がそうなるように望まれていた通りに、人を完全にされるのです。





  一方で、私達の信仰による生活が基本的に私達(私達の行動)に頼っていないと知るのは、惨めで居心地が悪いことです。これを理解することは物事の中心から私を連れ出し、手に負えなくするのです。私は、私の内側で力いっぱい抵抗するかもしれません。しかし、最終的には神様がコントロールされると理解すること、これが平安への道を見ることなのです。神様にある信仰を持たせて下さった神様が、そもそも、その日その日の私達の信仰を支えることをいとわないと知ることは自由であること、そして大きな希望の根源なのです。それは自分達が誇るべきと考えるかもしれない私達の理由を取り去ってしまいます。そして同時に私達からプレッシャーを取り去ってくれるのです。これからの不確かな日々において例えどんなことが私達に起ころうと、私達はピリピ人への手紙1章6節で “あなた方のうちに良い働きを始められた方は、キリスト・イエスの日が来るまでにそれを完成させて下さることを私は堅く信じているのです。”、神様が私達に与えて下さった素晴らしい約束に堅くしがみつくことができるのです。


  イエス様はペテロを”ヨナの子シモン“と呼ばれました(17節) 何故この名前を使われたのでしょう。当時の文化ではペテロをそのように呼ぶことは特異なことではなかったのです。ペテロの名前は ”シモン・ペテロ“ で父親の名前はヨナ、又はヨンでした。ですが、もっとあったようです。聖書のこの箇所の残りを読むと、ペテロは旧約聖書の預言者ヨナのような人だ、ということが様々な方法によって知るヒントを見つけることができます。



 ヨナと大魚の物語の一つの鍵は、ヨナの過ちから学ぶという事です。神様は、預言者ヨナを重要な手本として見習うように語っておられないと思います。神様がヨナにメッセージをお与えになった時、ヨナが逃げようとしたからだけではなく、助けるために遣わされた人々に対して、ヨナがすごく心配してるふうではないからです。ヨナは最終的にニネベに到着し、いつの世でも最悪な事かもしれない、そんな説教をします。即ち ”40日以内にニネベの町は滅ぼされる“(ヨナ書3章4節)です。 でも明らかにたったこれだけです。全てのことが審判についてであり、神様のめぐみや赦したいという願い、ニネベの人々を神様の家族として迎えたい、こんな事には全く触れていません。しかし神様はとにかく、このメッセージを用いて、全ての人々(ニネベの)を悔いあらために導きます。その結果、主である神様は方針を変えニネベの人々を罰しません。なので、ヨナには、多くの新しい友人たちとこれを喜び、神様の愛の素晴らしさを分かち合う機会があったのですが、ヨナはそのようにはしません。そのかわり町の外でニネベが滅ぼされるのを待っていたのです。ヨナのいるところに木が生えて彼を涼しく快適にしてくれたことは喜んだのですが、神様がニネベの多くの人を赦し命を与えたことには全く喜んだ様子は見えません。そこで神様は、喜ぶべき当然の理由があるにもかかわらず、怒っているヨナを叱責します。そこでこの話は唐突に終わっています。



  覚えていますか? ペテロは嵐の中、船から出てイエス様の方へ水の上を歩いて行き、怖くなり沈みかけ、イエス様が波の中から助け上げた、その人です。

 そしてイエス様を救い主と認識するという ”輝かしい瞬間“ のすぐ後、イエス様に ”十字架にかかって死んでしまうなどと話してはいけません。“と言った、その人です。この時イエス様はペテロに、”下がれ。サタン。“ (マルコ8章33節)と言われました。











 第5、イエス様は続けて言われます(18節) ”あなたはペテロです。この岩の上に私の教会を建てよう。ハデスの門もこれを壊すほど強くはありません。“ と。