When Jesus won’t cooperate
Has this ever happened to you? Someone that you kinda know asks for some of your time. They call, or invite you to coffee or dinner, without mentioning a clear reason. So with some apprehension, you agree to meet.
When you get together, there may be all kinds of pleasantries and formalities, but inside you have a gut feeling that there’s an agenda. Your “spidey sense” is telling you that they want something. (It could be your money, your time, your forgiveness, your advice, etc.) And the only real question is whether you’ll want to cooperate with their request.
Turns out, people came to Jesus like that, too. (See, you’re in good company!) If you’re part of the Big Read, you probably read Mark 8 earlier this week. In that chapter, Jesus conducts a mini-survey, and asks what others think of him. Then he asks his disciples who THEY think he is. Peter nails it! “You’re the Messiah, the one that was promised!” So far, so good. But Peter has an agenda. He has something he wants from the Messiah. And we know this because of what happens next.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and 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. Mark 8:31-32
Peter rebuked Jesus, which is pretty gutsy in itself. But it was because he had an agenda, and that agenda did NOT involve the Messiah suffering and dying! Peter needed Jesus to cooperate with PETER’S plan. But Jesus won’t go along.
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.” Mark 8:33 (emphasis added)
Jesus calls him out in front of his friends. Rebukes him, and even calls him “Satan”! Because Peter could only see his plan, and wasn’t able to see God’s plan.
Has that ever happened to you? You have a plan, and you need Jesus to cooperate? But he doesn’t. Because Jesus has in mind God’s plan. Which may differ significantly from your plan. If Jesus doesn’t seem to be cooperating with your plan, have you considered that maybe he has God’s (better) plan in mind?
One benefit of spending time in the Big Read is it will help you get more familiar with God’s plan, as seen through Jesus. And hopefully it will help you avoid the embarrassing situation Peter faced when Jesus had to call him out.