Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ grim news is understandable. If we had been training under and serving alongside someone like Jesus for three years, the news that he was going to have to die would be hard to take. Perhaps we too would have never heard the part that came after “rejected, killed, …”
Peter’s reaction is purely human. It is where we live most of our days as well. Peter did not look far enough ahead and was just concerned with ‘now’ and how not having Jesus around would affect ‘tomorrow’. We preoccupy and worry over how we fit in, how we are though of, what tomorrow will bring, and so on. It was hard for human Peter to see divine Jesus’ bug picture. Sometimes we fail to live with an eternal focus too. Sometimes our eyes are fixated on the here and now.
Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” What a reality check; what a wake-up call. Imagine of you heard those words spoken to someone in your small group or during a meeting at church. Imagine if they were spoken to you! Yet in reality these are words we need to use personally with ourselves all the time. When we begin to veer off the path or when we go astray or when we just begin to feel temptation, we need to shout these words in our hearts and minds: get behind me Satan!
We are much like Peter. We live human lives quite often. We stumble and fall. Often. And, like Peter, we too have the cross and the promise of life eternal. In that cross we seek and find grace and love and forgiveness. Because of this each day we can deny self, take up our own cross, and seek to follow Jesus. It is the only way.
Scripture reference: Mark 8: 31-38