August 27: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews is the vicar of St. Hilda St. Patrick. The sermon for August 27, 2023 was preached in response to Matthew 16:13-20 based on the notes below.
  1. Jesus is doing succession planning. This section of Matthew — as Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem — is preparing them for his departure. He’s teaching them how they’ll need to be in community.
  2. He starts by asking who people say that he is. They give him some answers. Then he asks who they say he is. 
  3. Peter answers him. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The disciples have said this in astonishment before, after he calmed a storm twice now Simon claims it fully.
  4. This claim isn’t on his own. Once again Matthew makes clear that God is the actor in this gospel as Jesus says, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”
  5. “You are a stone, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Not a name change, but a nick name, probably about being solid…and that death shall not overcome the church
  6. Jesus is setting administration up! Hare, “If Jesus anticipated his death and subsequent resurrection— which we believe, he must surely have given thought to the future of his ‘movement’ between his death and the final resurrection of the dead.”
  7. Racist shooting in Jacksonville. Who Jesus is — defeating death, death will not prevail – message church to proclaim. Giving Peter authority, giving church authority for boundaries of behavior
  8. Who we say Jesus is impacts our behavior. If he is God’s anointed who has defeated death and given us, called to act it. Belief and practice are already the same, Matthew makes that clear. 
  9. Gates of Hades / powers of death will not overcome God’s good news. We’re the ongoing movement, with administration and succession planning -> capital campaign, moving forward.  

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