March 2, 2012

March 2: Telling Jesus he is wrong


By Nate Manning, a senior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Please read the Scripture again before you start reading this devotion. Did you read it? OK, I trust you. Notice the depth of Jesus’ statement, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The Message translates it this way; “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (emphasis mine).

Two verses earlier, Peter approached Jesus. This was just after he found out that Jesus must be killed. This did not sound appealing to Peter. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Peter was comfortable with this love relationship. Peter felt threatened with the thought of suffering. Jesus responded with comparing Peter to Satan. Whoa! I don’t know about you but being compared with Satan is not what I want from my loving Savior.

Often times we have our own plans of how our walk with Christ should work out. We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us. We do not lose our lives for Christ’s sake or the Good News.

Often times Christians are like Peter. We love telling Jesus that he is wrong and that our way is best. We become comfortable with the love that we have experienced but are uncomfortable with the conflict that comes because of the controversy of the Gospel. But Jesus calls us to lose ourselves for this controversy.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)
31 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.” 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”



Comments (15)

  1. Thanks for the reminder of what losing our lives for the Gospel means and for our need to relinquish control to the One who knows the end from the beginning-even if that includes conflict.

    Ruth March 2, 2012 |
  2. Thanks, Nate, for some awesome thoughts! My Sunday School class is doing an expository study of Mark’s Gospel. Your perceptive perspective will definitely be shared with the class when we come to this passage.

    Dickie Siler March 2, 2012 |
  3. Insightful meditation that will serve as a foundation for my reading, writing, praying, and listening time this morning. Thanks

    Dennis March 2, 2012 |
  4. Hi Nate, greetings from Ireland! Challenging stuff in your reflection. Thanks…and keep it up!

    Tony Walsh March 2, 2012 |
  5. Thank you, Nate. Your comments get to the heart of the matter. You spoke words I needed to hear.

    Jim Miller (James N. '53) March 2, 2012 |
  6. I would go one step further. Jesus didn’t just compare Peter to Satan. The thrust of Jesus’ rebuke was that in and through Peter’s rebuke Satan was actively at work, opposing the things of God. That opens up troubling questions about our own following. Jesus rightly profess “Jesus is Lord!” but his actions were a hindrance to what God was doing through Jesus for the world. His opposition was another real temptation from Satan for Jesus to forego the way of the cross. In what ways do we profess “Jesus is Lord” with our lips and act in opposition to His shalom building work in the world?

    michaeldanner March 2, 2012 |
  7. Opps! That should have been “Peter rightly professes ‘Jesus is Lord!'” not “Jesus”…

    michaeldanner March 2, 2012 |
  8. Nate, Your italicizing the word “embrace” it — suffering for Christ’s sake, that is — roused me from a complacent morning. Thanks.

    Jim Brenneman, GC President March 2, 2012 |
  9. Thank you for proding my thinking this a.m. and contemplation on the suffering with and for Christ’s sake.

    Lorene March 2, 2012 |
  10. “We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us.”
    I’ve do this, staying in my comfort zone. I don’t even know what it is like to suffer like Christ.
    Thank-you for the reminder.

    julia March 2, 2012 |
  11. The main idea of your devotional is something I have struggled with many times – in fact, it’s probably the main thing I am struggling with this Lent – the idea that we ought to make room for God’s plans instead of just following our own. I know I have my own plans for my life, for instance, and, reading this devotional, I realize that I need to let go of the parts of my plan that don’t accord with God’s plan. However, a thought just occurred to me: If we are truly following God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, our plan and His will be the same. So then, the question your devotional has raised for me is, am I truly following God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Sorry for such a long-winded comment, but at least it shows you how thought-provoking your devotional was for me.

    Elizabeth S.O. March 2, 2012 |
  12. Many of us are desiring safety (and that is part of shalom), but it can be too much of an occupation when Jesus challenges us to risk. Perhaps we need Christian education material and life experience through church that models courage, speaking-up as well as living for the sake of God’s reign.

    Gary Olsen-Hasek March 2, 2012 |
  13. Thank you, Nate, for reminding me quite forcefully that I cannot settle down comfortably, expecting the love of Jesus to arrange my situations in advance. Christ is not a bulldozer clearing my path before me; rather, he is the bulldozer pushing me from behind. And I should be grateful.
    With every good wish for the joyous season of Lent.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 3, 2012 |
  14. I absolutely agree. It is so hard to let go of self and let God isn’t it?

    Patty Seyler March 3, 2012 |
  15. So often the path of Christ brings circumstances that can cause fear; often due to the loss of our own plans.But God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. He will go before and make the rough places smooth. The problem is trust, and the “path” is to allow His living in us. May God the Father be pleased, as we step aside from ourselves and let Jesus His Son be glorified in is..

    patricia March 5, 2012 |