A story of triumph and disgust. From Mark 8: 27-38, Peter goes from being the wise one to being the Satan of the Disciples. Get behind me, Satan! I’ve heard these words many times from different members of the Christian family. An honest exclamation made in times of crisis, doubt, fear or temptation. When we are concerned about the voices we hear, those which lead us astray, inside our head or those belonging to others, we seek the power and comfort of Christ to protect us from the evil we seek to avoid. It’s a good strategy, a reminder of what is good and healthy for us and what is not and needs to be avoided.
But what if we are the one?
What if someone is looking at us and thinking “get behind me Satan.” Even more disturbing is the thought that Jesus may look at us and think “get behind me Satan.” Far-fetched, we think. Certainly, Peter must have thought so. In today’s gospel story, Peter believed he had earned the right and possessed the wisdom to tell Jesus about how to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. With best intentions, mixed with arrogant ways, we, like Peter, tell people about Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven in ways that reflect ourselves more than Christ’s. We talk of the cross and, in so doing, define Jesus in ways that comfort ourselves, demand little, and exclude many of those who need to hear God’s truth, not ours.
God’s grace, through Jesus Christ, is the most remarkable gift of all time to all people. And its very nature comes with a challenge. Do we let the Spirit of God work within us to make the changes needed to embrace the life God has planned for us? Or do we reshape the story of Jesus, like fluffing a pillow to make it comfortable for a good night sleep? Often, our faith is much like Peter’s at this point in his walk with Jesus. It’s a little of both. Like Peter, we are at a point of great potential. Let’s talk about it. Hope to see you Sunday!
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!