The Peter-Principle


"What are people saying about me?" the Master asks his disciples.  They repeat the scuttlebutt going around town: "Some say you are John the Baptist.  Some say you're the reincarnation of Elijah or Jeremiah.  Some say you are some great prophet that Moses anticipated."

But Simon Peter leaps from the ground and exclaims to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God!"

The Master responds with enthusiasm, "Simon Peter, how marvelous it is that God has suddenly revealed this insight to you! It is upon this very rock, or fundamental principle, that I am building my church (or assembly of followers)."

Centuries before this story from the 16th chapter of Matthew, Moses had taught that the Jews were God's chosen people and, as you already know, Peter is Jewish.  But the realization that all of us are spiritual beings having a human experience has been forever a hidden mystery to Simon.

Yet, an inkling of what Jesus fully understands is now being revealed to Simon Peter.  He perceives the divinity of one man, Jesus.  Don't you just suppose the Master is wanting to clarify, "Simon, I am not the only one who is divine, you know.  We are all -- every one of us -- divine children of God."  Maybe so, but Peter is not able to bear it. Even God's latest inspiration can not last.  Soon it will wane from his consciousness.

For within a few moments, the discussion shifts. Jesus informs his disciples that he will soon be killed.  "Yet in three days, I shall resurrect from death".  What does Peter do, but protest the Christ, the very son of the living God, "Impossible, Master!  That can never be!"

And yet, a little later still, while the Master is being interrogated by the Roman authorities, Simon Peter vehemently denies (not once, but three times) that he knows who Jesus is.  What has happened to our Peter?

Let me explain it this way.  When the intuitive realization hits Simon Peter that Jesus is imbued with divine characteristics, he becomes catapulted into a level of awareness he can not long sustain -- let alone appreciate the grander idea that all are God's chosen ones.

In other words, Simon has now become prey to the Peter Principle: rising the ladder of success until one reaches his own level of incompetence.

As we grow in spiritual awareness, we are stretching our minds and opening our hearts to sustain a greater truth than previously understood.  To apply that truth to our everyday affairs, we now draw upon the indwelling strength and power of God.  "With men, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."  We must acknowledge our new position, surrender the ego-control, and trust Him to sustain us with infinite love and divine wisdom until we master that rung of the ladder.

Have a Happy Easter Sunday!

Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
March 1, 2004

Back to Titles
Back to Titles