March 16, 2003

Mark 8:31-38

[Jesus] began explaining things to them: "It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive." He said this simply and clearly so they couldn't miss it.

But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. "Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! you have no idea how God works."

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose your, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

"If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels."

[The Message]


1. Having something said simply and clearly, unmistakable, is by my definition a good thing. That very clarity, however, does bring with it a speedier recognition that the speaker really is at a different place than the hearer. The reaction protest is quick to arrive.

However, this is no reason to soften the message. There is a sense of, "Caution be damned! Full speed ahead!"

2. Isn't it wonderful how Jesus' words grabbed Peter and shook him to his core. Recognition dawned that something new really was going on here.

Isn't it wonderful how Peter grabbed Jesus. While this can be indicative of a weak relationship - it's easy to fly off the handle with those you don't care for - it is also possible to see this as showing the depth and intimacy of the relationship.

Has something finally gotten through to you about the radical message of Jesus? Well, grab him and insist on getting things set straight, even if that means straightening yourself out. It might also mean that Jesus, like GOD, will have one of those conversion moments and change his mind.

You'll never know which way it will go until you engage and grab on to one another.

3. Here come the clowns. Here come a pair-o-docs with their prescriptions being dashed off and flung willy-nilly about. "Self-sacrifice is self-saving." From a moment of anger from incomprehensibility comes a chuckle of recognition. Oh, yeah!, that's what you've been saying all along.

Sometimes we need to get the energy of reactive reptilian and mammalian brains engaged to finally get the information we need into our neo-cortex. Without the tussle, the learning would have passed by one more time.

Let's hear it for the testing of Satan that brings the aha. Job and Jesus and you and I are all part of the learning organization known as GOD.