Saturday, March 3, 2012

Get Behind Me, Satan! Mark 8:31-39

Jesus sits his disciples down and begins to tell them that he must suffer at the hands of the religious authorities, be crucified and rise from the dead. This all must have sounded very odd to Peter. He had left everything to follow Jesus, who he believed to be the Messiah, and now Jesus is saying he must suffer and die. The Messiah was not supposed to do that. He was supposed to lead the Jewish people to victory over their enemies.

So Peter takes Jesus aside and rebukes him, which means, I suppose, that Peter tells him that he's got his wires crossed.

Jesus says, "Get behind me, Satan!"

Such a strong reaction. I guess you don't accuse the Son of God of getting his wires crossed. Either that or Peter has hit a nerve. Maybe the victory over enemies thing rather than the suffering and dying sounded pretty good to Jesus. Peter had become the great tempter.

Where is Satan in your life? From this passage it sounds like Satan is anything or anyone who is distracting you from doing the will of God. What is the will of God for you? First and foremost, the will of God for you, like it was for Jesus, is to be human. I know, it doesn't sound very ambitious, but in actuality it can be very hard.

The Christian proclamation is that God took on flesh and became incarnate. Jesus did not just fake it. He suffered and died, and he called his followers to take up their cross and follow his path.

During Lent we practice self-examination to discover where we are making our own Messianic demands on life, where we are trying to wrestle what we want out of life by use of our significant powers of intelligence, creativity and energy. Trouble is, all this striving creates its own form of suffering. First, it gets exhausting. Second, at some point life overwhelms even our most formidable efforts.  

The way of the cross is the way of abandonment--relinquishing power, possession and security. Through trust in God, we let go of our fitful demands and find that we are buoyed by a grace we hadn't before experienced. By losing our lives, we find we are saved.

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