Mark 8:22-9:1; 2 Samuel 20-21; Hosea 1:1-2:1
It is, perhaps, a church tradition. A church committee meets to make plans for the future. They discuss, they argue, they compromise and finally come up with a plan to meet their needs that everyone is happy with. Then, they pray about it and ask God to bless their plans.
Peter had plans for Jesus. He knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He had proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God and Jesus had confirmed it. When Jesus was finally open about who He was I think Peter began dreaming of the final overthrow of the Romans. He probably checked things out with the sword makers to make sure they were ready to ramp up production. He may even have checked into the kinds of robes that second in command leaders wore. Then Jesus burst his bubble by talking about being turned over to the chief priests and elders, suffering, dying and then coming back to life. Peter let Jesus go on for awhile and then, like a good executive officer let Jesus know privately that He had better cut back on that kind of talk and get back to the Revolution and saving Jerusalem. “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.’ Peter must have been stunned. One minute Jesus is blessing him and the next Jesus is calling him Satan. The disciples never really picked up on the idea that Jesus had a much longer ministry planned than merely freeing Jerusalem from the Romans. His ministry was one that would extend even to this day and beyond. In order to do that, in order to bring forgiveness for sins, in order to create a kingdom of forgiven people who would spread the message of forgiveness and the love of God, Jesus needed to die on the cross and then rise from the dead. Peter opposed the plan that was God’s for what might practically be a few months of physical freedom.
God has some amazing plans and I wonder how often I miss being involved in them because I am too worried about my own needs to do what God wants. Like the church committee in the opening, I ask God to bless my plans instead of seeking God’s desires and following them. I would rather act in the absence of any knowledge of God’s plans than wait quietly until God tells me what to do. Lord, give me the patience to wait to hear from You; the discipline to avoid acting in ways that go contrary to Your desires and the faith to trust You in all circumstances. And don’t let me get in the way!