Peter is one of my all-time favorite Bible characters, I think because he’s so incredibly human. He often had a hard time keeping his mouth shut. He sported incredible doses of bravado one minute and was slinking away the next.
Do you ever stick your foot in your mouth?
Welcome to Peter’s world.
Here’s one of those “What was he thinking?” moments:
And [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:31-33).
It’s almost funny thinking about Peter’s having the audacity to whisper something like this in the Lord’s ear:
“Lord, can I talk to you alone for a minute?”
“Sure, Peter. What’s on your mind?”
“Well, I don’t know exactly how to say this, but I’m very uncomfortable with all this talk about suffering and being rejected and dying.”
And perhaps this is when Peter felt it was perfectly appropriate for him to “rebuke” God. Where did he get the nerve?
There’s no doubt Peter had good intentions—he didn’t want Jesus to go to Jerusalem and get Himself killed.
Of course what he was missing was the main reason Jesus came to earth.
There’s a lot of talk this week about the birth of Jesus, and it’s exciting to know that people are thinking about Bethlehem.
But the mistake we don’t need to make is to romanticize His birth and miss the reason He blessed Mary’s womb.
Few people have a hard time with baby Jesus, this Lord of the Nativity.
But some people—like Peter—stumble over a beaten, bloody, suffering, humiliated Christ. They love Jesus in the manger, but shun the Christ whose execution shows how ugly our sin is.
We need to remember–we’re saved at Calvary. There we learn that the key to discipleship is joining Jesus in His humility.
Jesus was born to die, so we dare not stay in Bethlehem and miss Golgotha.
Thank God for the manger, but remember the cross.