Mark 8:22-9:1; 2 Samuel 20-21; Hosea 1:1-2:1
Peter had just made his great confession. It was the height of joy as the disciples gathered around and he said that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus confirmed it. Then, Jesus ruined the mood. “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” (Mark 8:31-32) As Jesus began to let the disciples know what being the Messiah entailed, Peter got upset. He knew what Messiah would be like and what he would do. Messiah would lead the Jews in a military victory over the Romans and all the people would follow him. The religious leaders would realize who he was and rally the people around him. In his outrage, Peter took Jesus aside and made sure that He knew that He was getting this Messiah gig down all wrong. We look at Peter with our 20/20 hindsight and we shake our heads wondering how it was that Peter got so turned around on this issue. Meanwhile, we set conditions on our belief in Jesus. We want Jesus on our own terms. We complain about our lot in life and think God won’t really be God if He doesn’t change it to the way we want things to be. We “claim one promise” from God and hold it over His head as if our relationship with Him is a contractual agreement while failing to obey His commands in other areas. Our relationship with God is not a contract – it’s a covenant. And, to be quite honest, we come to God just as we are on His terms. He accepts and forgives us. We don’t come to Jesus on our own terms. To be quite blunt – we come to God in unconditional surrender; there is no negotiation and there are no terms of surrender. As we come to Him, though, He cleanses us and restores us. He gives us freedom to be what He has called us to be.
Oh Lord, I do surrender to You. I need Your forgiveness and I need Your grace. I ask for these on Your terms and pray for the strength not to try to tell You how to do that. As I surrender, give me the freedom to be Your child and show others the goodness of Your way.