Monday, September 21, 2009


Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Mark 8:29, 31-33

The confession of the disciples only brings them part way to understanding who Jesus was and what he was doing in the world. Now Jesus asks them to believe something that is so radical that it will shake them to the very core of their being! They are being asked to turn around and go completely against the flow of the expectations of almost every single Jew alive! If they were going to follow Jesus they would need to know the truth about the Messiah. They were going to have to accept as true and believe something that they could make no sense of. That is called faith! We are also called to believe and accept things that we cannot explain! That is why so many people think Christians are crazy! The truth Jesus told them was that he was going to be executed. He made it clear that these things must happen. He must suffer. He must die. And he must rise again. The elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law were going to reject their own Messiah and participate in his execution! This was God’s perfect plan for the Messiah. Jesus was speaking clearly. For the first time his truth was not veiled.

All this proved to be just too much for Peter. It just didn’t register! It made no sense at all! Peter knew Jesus was the Messiah. He was the one who had answered the question correctly. And everyone knew the Messiah was not going to be killed! He was going to bring victory over Rome! He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory! He was going to lead them out of poverty to wealth! So Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. “Jesus, we can’t have any more of this kind of talk. People will not want to follow you if they hear these things. You are heading in the wrong direction! You don’t have to suffer and die!” Jesus stepped away and turned on Peter and the rest of the disciples who were apparently with Peter. Jesus rebuked Peter. Peter had become the instrument of temptation. In the wilderness temptations Satan had tempted Jesus to abandon his mission. Now Satan was trying to use Peter to do the same thing. What Jesus says to Peter makes my blood run cold. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” When I look at all the things some churches are doing in the name of God and when I see all the things that are being called “churches” and when I see what some pastors are doing in the name of God and Christianity I tremble. I can hear the words of Jesus, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men!”


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