Summary: Jesus says that the Son of Man MUST suffer greatly...


Talk about anti-climactic:

Peter’s inspired answer that Jesus is “The One,” (the Messiah), through whom God will accomplish all that he promised is followed by the rebuke of, “Get behind me, Satan.”

e.g. A married lady went out shopping one day and when she returned home she brought with her a beautiful dress. She showed it to her husband who almost had a stroke when he heard how much it cost. She agreed with him that it was very expensive, but she said she tried it on and she looked so beautiful in it she couldn’t resist the temptation to buy it. Her husband told her you should have said, “Get behind me, Satan.” She said that’s exactly what I said, and Satan said, “you look fabulous from back here too!”

Peter has momentarily become a “Satan” because he opposed the revealed will of God.

i.e. Jesus says that the Son of Man MUST suffer greatly because it’s the will of the Father; the plan foretold in the Scriptures.

It’s not a tragic mishap or a wrench in the works; it’s exactly what was intended in the beginning.

1). What is a better way respond when we oppose God’s plan for us? His permissive will for us?

The book, The Obstacle is the Way, puts it this way:

Not: I’m OK with this.

Not: I think I feel good about this.

But: I feel great about it.

I am meant to make the best of it.

There is always some good—even if only barely perceptible at first, contained within the bad.

This leads to hope- to cultivate a deeper trust in God's control of future events, with a solid understanding that the adversities that arise will be utilized for Christians' benefit.

As Colombiere asserted, God's wisdom, which extends into the future by taking into account future actions and consequences, is perfect, as is God's love for humankind;

because of this, surrendering to God's will, which is "to wish nothing except what He wishes," leads to happiness that is "constant, unchangeable, and endless."

And several studies show that surrender is negatively associated with worry.

2). Jesus says that deny ourselves is another way around obstacles--

Indeed, self-denial is the key to the conquering of sin, you simply cannot rely on yourself… you have to DENY yourself!

Recognize that stress of chaos versus the blessings of order. The more we try to make our life better by pursuing our own desires, the more our desires will spin out of control, creating stressful and frustrating chaos in our life.

Types of self-denial include: Linguistic Self-Denial, which is refraining from speaking or responding out of the motives of charity or prudence;

Mental Self-Denial in the area of imagination or voluntary memory;

Self-denial in terms of individualism when it blocks Commitment to community or family or one’s vocation;

and self-denial from any sinful inclination, of course.

“When the devil is stripped of all his trappings, the ultimate goal of the demonic is to avoid the Cross, mortification, self-discipline and self-denial.”—Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Up to now, Peter’s sacrifices had been a good investment. He watched Jesus cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes, etc.

Now, Jesus’ response, “Get behind me Satan”, threw Peter into a crisis of faith, shattering his conceptions and expectations of God. He wanted a God who shields us from our own vulnerability.

The message is that if we stop before Calvary, we misunderstand Jesus. Will mistake him as a miracle worker, or exorcist, or wise teacher.

Jesus’ true identity can only be known at the Cross. There, even the unenlightened Roman solider will recognize him: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Why follow a crucified Christ? Because only a crucified Messiah reveals God as a suffering, venerable God. Only those who stand beneath the cross and watch him suffer and die will be convinced that at the heart of reality is One who enters into suffering. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us, “Only the suffering of God can help.” And Alfred North Whitehead calls God the “fellow sufferer who understands.”

The message is profound. God has moved into our vulnerability, our guilt, our alienation, our suffering, our death. God has claimed our weakness as a resource for Divine Power.

God has claimed our wounds as potential means of healing.

We no longer have to hide behind a mask of stoic control nor wear a protective armor of invulnerability.

We can confront our weaknesses, and even affirm that with St. Paul, “when I am weak then I am strong.” 2 COR. 12:10

We can take up our Cross with the full assurance that Christ has gone before us and now shares its weight and pain.

Because we follow a crucified Christ we enter into solidarity with the world’s suffering masses. We experienced the power and love of God through the vulnerable and suffering. We enter the presence of Crucified love.

We live on the other side of the Cross from Peter: Resurrection.

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