Mark 8:33 – 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." (NIV)
"You must watch your diet," my doctor said, "or else suffer adverse effects."
These were simple words for the physician to say, but much harder for me to carry out. In an area of the country where fellowship, love, concern, and caring for one's neighbour are expressed with food, following a diet is a hard thing to do. Many times the ones whom I expected to help me were the ones encouraging me to eat.
"Just a little bite", they encouraged, "won't hurt."
Yet we all know the outcome of that first bite. It leads to seconds and thirds, and soon the regime is broken. These people, like Peter, love me and desire to feed my body, but it is not what my body needs.
Peter was so sincere when he rebuked Jesus. He loved Him. He had great plans for Jesus as this remarkable leader of the twelve. They might be able to change the world. Peter did not know and understand Jesus' way of changing the world. Jesus said He was going to die. What kind of pessimistic thinking was this? He should have been positive about their future and what the little group could accomplish.
Does this sound familiar? Do we sometimes act as Peter did because we do not understand? My friends urged me to eat because to do so would mean fellowshipping with them. It might mean sharing their favourite recipe and enjoying the delicacy they had worked to prepare, but the whole picture is not available to them.
We can't be too critical of Peter or of our friends. Many times, we do not understand where their actions are headed. Only through prayer, listening to the Master, and the discernment of the Holy Spirit are we able to see the picture any more clearly than Peter did.
Prayer: Lord, clear the haziness from our minds that we may hear and understand what You are saying. Like Peter, we love You, but we do not know where the plot is leading. Open our minds and hearts to see Your truths. Amen.