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June 20, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the 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 concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”—Mark 8:31–33 (NIV)
In today’s Scripture, we see Jesus speak about the Son of Man who is the Messiah. We know He is talking about the Messiah because in the verses right before, Jesus had just asked His disciples “Who do you say I am?” to which Peter responded “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29 NIV). An interesting turn of events happens in the following conversation which occurs in today’s passage. As Jesus describes the hardship and rejection the Messiah will endure, Peter, the same Peter who just declared He was the Messiah, takes Him aside and begins to rebuke Him. Why is that?
The Jewish idea of the Messiah did not line up with the image Jesus was painting. Throughout the Old Testament, there were multiple passages that alluded to the future Messiah, yet they were not always understood in the same way that we understand them because we have been born after the Messiah. It also seems there was a misunderstanding in the kind of peace and reconciliation the Messiah would bring. We see this in the cries of the people who welcomed Jesus upon His entrance to Jerusalem before getting arrested and crucified. They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:9–10 NIV). The same people who shouted this would also shout “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:13 NIV) a few days later. This is because their idea of what the Messiah would do involved politics and physical salvation instead of eternal salvation.
Oftentimes, we allow society and our own human nature to create unrealistic expectations about what happiness and purpose in this life should look like. We, much like the Jews, tend to more easily focus on the temporary rather than on the eternal. This also supports why Jesus responded to Peter in the way He did. He acknowledges that the main influence behind such misconceptions is Satan himself when he says, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
In Jesus’ redefining of not only the Messiah, but also of the life devoted to God which He would go on to further elaborate in the next verses, we see a clearer picture of what God has called us to in this world as we follow Him. In view of this, I pray we would allow Jesus to redefine our assumptions in today’s world so our focus would remain on God and His kingdom rather than on anything else!
Pause: What misconceptions or worldly narratives are you falling for?
Practice: Write down—on paper or maybe as notes in your phone—truths you can combat those lies with.
Pray: Lord, thank You for appointing Your son, Jesus, to be the Messiah for us when we did not deserve it. Thank You that despite the suffering and pain, Jesus never backed down. I ask that You would redefine my views on life and what it means to follow You so I may be transformed by your truth and love from the inside out. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.