Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Mark 8:31-33 (NRSV)
Phyllis Theroux wrote:
There are three children in my family. If they were to confront a spider-web in the garden, each would react differently. The first child would examine the web and wonder how the spider wove it. The second would worry a great deal about where the spider was at that particular moment. And the third would exclaim, “Oh, look! A trampoline.” One reality, three dimensions.
If you had been standing there when Jesus started talking about the cross and death, what would YOU have thought? Peter’s knee-jerk: NEVER! is recorded in the Gospel. It’s also recorded that Jesus nixed Peter’s motion – called him a “satan” (or adversary).
We are not privy to what the other disciples said; if they had the courage to speak at all. And if they kept quiet, who could blame them after the way Jesus hushed Peter? Still, I can imagine their inner thoughts:
Judas: This is coming unglued; I’ve gotta do
James and John: Maybe mother was right; he might be crazy; what will happen to us if we stick this thing out?
Thomas: Would the Son of God talk like this?
Andrew: Wow! I never saw that coming;
what a ride this is!
As a Methodist preacher I can tell you that whenever there are a dozen Methodists gathered in a room there will be at least three dozen opinions about anything. That is a fact which makes it difficult to reach consensus, but it also makes us thinking Christians.
I imagine Jesus wanted the disciples to start thinking about what possibilities they would face in the near future. After all, eleven of them were going to face the task of changing the world; it was time to grow deep and strong.
Disciples have the joy of hanging out with Jesus. But they also get surprised by the things he whispers in their ears.
Will you grow deeper and stronger today as you continue this Lenten journey of reflection on sorrow, grief and the cross?