Anglican Morning Devotion for 3 May 2021 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” (Isaiah 51:1)
Presiding 1400 feet over the Gate to the Mediterranean Sea is the promontory called the Rock of Gibraltar. This stone eminence guards the Iberian Peninsula against an invasion of ground forces from the sea, and broods over the world’s busiest trade route through the Straits of Gibraltar. It is recognizable by all who do extensive sea trade in those waters. There is another Rock of greater eminence and importance that represents the Lord Jesus Christ. All who have studied Holy Scripture and plied the spiritual waters thereof are very familiar with that latter Rock. We find prominent mention of that Rock in both the Old and New Testaments.
We find a profound truth tucked away in seemingly common parlance in the verse from Isaiah quoted above. The verse is taken from the Old Testament lectionary text for today. Please peruse the verse above once more. There is, as is often found in Holy Scripture, a contrast of meanings that have a personal impact on all on earth.
Your attention is invited to the occasion at the Coast of Caesarea Philippi: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:13-18: all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Peter expresses an exceptional spiritual understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God. Jesus refers to Peter as Petrus (meaning stone or a chip from a rock). But the reference Jesus makes to the Rock upon which He will build His Church is Petra (large Rock or Crag). Peter is not the foundation upon which the Church is built, but our Lord Jesus Christ is that foundation. The faith expressed by Peter is expressive of who Peter is in Christ – Peter is a chip off the old Rock! The disciple of Christ should be cut from the same cloth as his Master. Being a stone of the Rock, he bears the same likeness and composition as the rock from which he is hewn.
So must we all be like the great Rock of Christ! We are part of Him, and He is part of us – both alike ONE! “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.” (Psalms 61:1-4)
Granite rocks of Everest are strong and immovable by man’s power. But these will perish with fervent heat as all other elements at the last day; however that Spiritual Rock that our Lord is will never perish. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor 10:1-4)
The Rock from which floods of water gushed at the Mountain of the Lord (Horeb) represented the Fountain of Living Waters which is Christ. He is the Rock of our Salvation. We are very much like God’s eagles as His elect: “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 28She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.” (Job 39:27-28) The safe place is not in the Wilderness of Sin, but high upon the Mountain of Mercy in the Crag of the Rock. “ The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” (Psalms 18:2)