This is one of those passages that really makes me think. “I don't think I could have rebuked Jesus as Peter did!” I am reacting to the terribly painful words of Jesus’ rebuke. Read this week’s Gospel and be attentive to your response to it and the questions Jesus asks. And then I have some questions for you.
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:27-35
What was your reaction to the whole passage?
Which part of it is most profound for you?
This particular story is well known for Jesus’ words to Peter. “Get behind me, Satan.” Poor Peter! He is always so eager and well intentioned. And what happens? He misspeaks and is severely rebuked. Peter is painfully aware that this walk with Jesus is not for the faint of heart.
That is why I want to challenge us all to look at the second part of what Jesus said. “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Now let me ask some more questions.
When (specifically) have you thought as human beings do?
How might God's thinking be different from yours?
Now let’s focus on another part of the passage. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” In all of Peter’s “misses” there is a powerful message. While following Jesus can be difficult, we do not journey alone. We journey with the Christ, the Anointed One, who brings God’s mercy, redemption and salvation. That is how God thinks.
Last question: Will you follow Him??? Your response should come from your answer to the question: “…who do you say that I am?”
If you say, He is the Christ; there is no one else to follow!