Updated: Jan 22
Peter Trips on the Cross
In Mark 8:29a, Peter makes the bold and the correct identification of Jesus as the Messiah. Though no one set of expectations existed as to the mission of the Messiah, many came to believe from the words of the prophets in the Old Testament that the Messiah would go to Jerusalem and battle and defeat Israel’s enemies. Finally, the Messiah would be crowned as Israel’s true and final King. The Messiah, God’s “anointed” one, would usher in a new and eternal error where Israel rules the world.
So, when Mark tells us in verse 31, “He [Jesus] then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected…. and that he must be killed….,” can you understand why Peter might see Jesus’ words as a scandal?
Jesus speaks very plainly about the group who will reject and crucify him. Jesus tells us in Mark 8:31 that his death will come at the hands of “by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law….” These are the religious and national leaders of the people of Israel. Though they rather willfully reject Jesus as the Messiah, these men are deeply concerned for what they see as the ways of God. They should have known better.
What do you think Jesus is telling us about what the cross (which is short hand for the death of Jesus) will accomplish?
Peter hears Jesus explain the mission he will purposefully follow as Israel’s Messiah. Instead of thinking deeply how this way might indeed be God’s way, Peter opens his mouth and trips. Then Jesus says something that seems rather harsh to Peter, who has just correctly identified who Jesus is. We are told in Mark 8:33, “But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’”
How is Peter “Satan” or at least following Satan’s intentions with Jesus? What is the warning for you and me contained in these words of Jesus?
Before we finish this post, the Greek verb “to rebuke” is used three times in Mark 8:30-33. In Mark 8:30, Jesus “rebukes” (translated as “warns”) Peter not to tell anyone who he is. Then in Mark 8:32, Peter “rebukes” Jesus for saying the Messiah’s mission will lead to his death. Finally, Jesus “rebukes” Peter for not seeing God’s ways even though they do not meet his expectations of the Messiah.
What key themes are we drawn to by the repetition of the word “rebuke?”
See you Sunday.