Summary: The desire to follow the "genie in the lamp" Jesus gets the best of us sometimes. What does the real Jesus offer to us?
Feb 2015 Monday Chapel
A lowly Savior gives bigger and better blessings
Is it OK or not OK to call people names? Probably not OK. Even if the person deserves to be called something - jerk, idiot, freak - you know you shouldn’t do that - you shouldn't call people names. How about Satan - have you ever called someone Satan?
Jesus did that once - and Jesus was perfect - he never sinned. And so when Jesus called someone Satan, it must have been the right thing to do. Do you remember the person that Jesus called Satan? Was it Judas, because Judas betrayed him? No. Jesus actually called Judas his friend, remember?: "Friend, do you what you came for." Those were Jesus' last words to Judas. Or maybe he called one of the Pharisees "Satan" or Pontius Pilate or the Roman soldiers Satan - was it one of them because they were so bad? No. Who was it then - do you remember?
It was the Apostle Peter. Now you would think that of all the people in the world, Jesus would never have called Peter Satan. Peter was one of the biggest followers of Jesus Christ - Peter once said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And on that day, Jesus praised Peter: "You are Peter, and on this rock (this confession of faith) I will build my church."
So why in the world would Jesus call Peter a name, and of all the names, Satan? It seems pretty extreme. Let's look at our text for today:
Mark 8:31 Jesus 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. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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." 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
What did Peter do that was so wrong? Can you put yourself into Peter's shoes this morning? Peter really liked Jesus. Peter quit his fishing business, left behind everything, and followed Jesus around the countryside. Peter believed that Jesus was the Christ, but Peter's problem was that he "did not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
What did Peter have in his mind, that was so bad? Peter didn't like it when Jesus said that he was going to have to be rejected, and suffer, and die. That is not the plan that Peter had for Jesus. Jesus wasn't supposed to be rejected - he was supposed to become popular, really popular. Everyone was supposed to like him and cheer for him - "I love Jesus" bumper stickers on the backs of all the camels and donkeys. "Jesus is great" insignia written on all the robes of the people - all the turbans would have a Jesus swoosh on it. Jesus was supposed to be popular, not rejected, that was the plan in Peter's mind. He didn't like it that Jesus was saying the opposite.
And then when Jesus took it a step further and said that he was supposed to suffer and be killed? - Peter didn't like that either. If Jesus suffers and dies, well, that turns Jesus into a loser. Jesus wasn't supposed to suffer. He was supposed to become more and more powerful - maybe live in a palace and have lots of people serve him. And this whole idea of Jesus being killed? That's what happens to the losers. Jesus was supposed to live, and maybe even kill others - kill the Romans, who were so oppressive and they didn't give any glory to God. Kill all the bad guys - Herod, Pontius Pilate, Caesar - they're all going down - that was the plan, in Peter's eyes! And after Jesus beat the bad guys there would be free food and no more diseases and no more poverty or crime or oppression - that's what Jesus was going to do, Peter thought!