Mark 8:27-33 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.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
How hard it is to listen to forecasts of misfortune, no matter how realistic! When Jesus says openly that he must suffer and be rejected, Peter cannot stomach it. He thinks the Messiah must be mighty, glorious, all-conquering, not a 'loser'.
In Peter's memory this day would stand out for its huge joy, when he recognised Jesus as the Messiah; and also for the pain of a sharp word from Jesus, correcting Peter as to the sort of Messiah Jesus would be, a model of self-sacrificing love.
In one of the most important and sometimes forgotten statements of his life, Jesus promises that he will rise again. He indicates that his death and great suffering will not be final. He gave reminders sometimes of his future. At times the apostles must have remembered and wondered what he meant. Prayer can be a time of mulling over what Jesus meant. Did he know how he would rise? Did his faith in his future resurrection ever leave him? As we admit we don’t know, and that there is much about him we do not know, we can repeat, as Peter did, that he is the Messiah, the One to come, and that there is nobody else to whom we can go.
The Lord wants our faith in our prayer. Jesus asks us in many ways the same question, ‘Who do you say that I am ?' How would you answer? You are God..you are the poor...you are the hungry...the need in every person I meet...how might you answer that question? Let his words of who he is echo in your prayer, ‘I am life, joy, and whatever you do for others, you do for me.'
The disciples saw that Jesus was discussed and famous and could not see how that might end in suffering. Jesus invites me to accompany him in quiet, to learn from him and to accept difficulties with him.
Peter wanted to manage Jesus. Perhaps I, too, seek to limit Jesus in my life, preferring to direct him rather than follow.