Mark 8:27-35 NRSVue

27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”, 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes and be killed and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34He called the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Some thoughts on this scripture

This is a painful scene: first Peter rebukes Jesus, then Jesus rebukes Peter. We can sympathise with Peter, because which of us can bear the thought of our best friend being tortured and killed? But Jesus tells Peter that God’s plans are so much bigger than he imagines.

Someone has said that God’s dreams come to us several sizes too large! It takes us time to grow into them. What about my inner growth – have I stopped growing at some point, so that God cannot do more creative work with me?

Lord, let me be open to your unrestricted dreams for me, even though they involve change and pain and ultimately, death. This is the way to eternal joy.