He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Mark 8:31-33
Dear Lord Jesus, one of the many things I cherish about the Bible is its unfiltered, no-hype, non-spin honesty. Who but God would write a book documenting the foibles and failures of his beloved sons and daughters? Who but God would chronicle the ways his chosen leaders limp along, and prove themselves to be in constant need of mercy and grace? This gives me great encouragement and hope. It also gives me freedom to acknowledge that I need the gospel today just as much as the first day I believed it.
This will be just as true tomorrow, and the next day and the next. Please keep me convinced of this, Lord Jesus… because I’m so much like Peter. It’s one thing for me to stress, stew and stamp about the ways this generation is decrying and denying the theology of your cross. But it’s quite another to see the subtle and not-so-subtle ways I try to keep you from the cross. As you dealt with Peter, so deal with me. Give me all the life-giving rebukes I need to keep me living in gospel-sanity.
When I mute my heart to the insult of grace, I deny your cross. When I think, even for one moment, that my obedience merits anything, I deny your cross. When I put others under the microscope and measure of performance-based living, I deny your cross. When I wallow in self-contempt and do more navel-gazing than repenting, I deny your cross. Though I hate the bumper-sticker, when I actually live like you’re my co-pilot, I deny the cross.
Continue to free me, and my friends, from our “man-ish” thinking and living, Lord Jesus. Help us to mind the things of God as your cross gets bigger and bigger and bigger in our lives. So very Amen, I pray, in your patient and persistent name.