Thursday, March 5, 2009
Day Nine- March 5
Then 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. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But 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.’
"Get thee behind me, Satan!" are famous words from this passage. It must have been so embarrassing and so very troubling for all concerned to witness this scene.
The disciples learn from Jesus that he must undergo great suffering.
Peter rebukes Jesus. ("Say it isn't so!")
Jesus rebukes Peter. ("You just don't get it.")
I'm not sure we would "get it" either. Who would hear past suffering, rejection and death and catch the part about resurrection? And for those early followers of Jesus, a messiah or savior was a leader, almost like royalty.
The notion of a suffering savior was a new and seemingly unacceptable thing.
Perhaps these verses invite us to think about our own preconceptions, assumptions and predispositions. ("This isn't how I thought it would be!" "That's not how it's supposed to go!") Perhaps these verses invite us to think about the assumptions we make that get in the way of receiving news of resurrection...
O God, it's such an honor to be included among your co-workers that when you first invite us, it's hard to resist gasping, "You mean us? Why yes, we'd be glad to join in !" But your original approach is usually open-ended. You don't give us much idea of what we're really in for, except of course that we'll be coming alongside you. Then when you do get down to specifics, we're often so revolted that we want to get out of the whole thing. O God, thank you for sticking with us even when we run away. Convince us of your goodwill and wisdom. Enable us to be faithful to you. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Opening to God: Childlike Prayers for Adults by Marilyn McCord Adams; Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. p. 43.)
Line drawing from worship works lectionary art.