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Peter & John — Mark 8:27-32

27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

 

Dear God, the telling of this story is almost verbatim from Matthew’s telling (Matthew 16:13-28). We often get similar stories told similarly, but this one really hit the radar because it is strikingly similar.

It’s always a good lesson to learn: “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” I journaled about this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still a good message for me today. Everything I see is usually from my point of view. I rarely try to stop and look at things from your point of view. I can see you move is certain situations. I can look back on the last three months as some of the most blessed with good things (from my “human point of view”) as I’ve ever experienced. But what if these last three months weren’t the most blessed from your point of view? What if the hellacious year of 2013 was the year when you were really working?

My wife and I are about to have some time off together. We need this. We need to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake—to another village. To a secluded place. I think this is one of the concepts upon which my heart needs to meditate. How can I get myself to start seeing the world—even tragedies and hardships—from your point of view? 

Father, I’m here to offer myself to you. Be glorified through me. Thank you for everything. Really. Thank you. Thank you for what you’ve been doing lately and what you continue to do. And I don’t want to be insensitive to those around me. I know some who have been through big life transitions over the last few months. Some have been hard transitions for them. I’m so sorry for them. Please strongly support and help them. Love them. Encourage them. Provide for them. Give them rest. Help them to see all of this from your point of view. Be on the move in their lives. 

In Jesus’ name I pray, 

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter and John — Matthew 16:21-23

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Matthew 16:21-23

Dear God, wow. That last part of verse 23 will preach. I think I could build a whole sermon on this. We usually stop with the line, “Get behind me, Satan!” But it’s really all about that last line: “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

First, since I’m focusing on all things Peter and John and what their motivations are, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of things. Yes, he had the wrong thoughts and said the wrong thing, but, to his credit, he took Jesus aside privately. That was the right way to handle it. Jesus is the one who chose to make the rebuke public. Why? Probably because he knew that at least similar thoughts were in everyone else’s mind, and he wanted to address them.

The big thing, however, is what this last part of verse 23 tells us about how we should pray. When I ask for healing for a loved one, financial provision, or even a safe trip somewhere, is my mind more on human concerns than focused on your concerns? If things aren’t playing out the way I think they should, will I get mad at you.

And everything, up to and including death, is on the table. After all, Jesus was talking about his own death, and, like us, Peter didn’t think that accepting death or seeing death as part of the plan was a good thing. Jesus gave us this lesson and the church has largely missed it because we focused to much on enjoying the first part of the rebuke: “Get behind me, Satan!” We’ve focused on the idea that people will cause us to stumble when we want to do right—to tempt us. But there’s such a deeper meaning here.

I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times when I’ve complained to you about your plan and your timing. I like it when things are good and easy for me, and I don’t like it when things are difficult. I prefer the smooth path. There are times when I hope that if I can embrace enough self-discipline and pursue you in the good times then you won’t need to use trials to shape me. And while there might be some truth to that, even if I pull it off and keep myself completely disciplined, you might need my trials to shape someone else. And you might also need them to teach me a lesson I simply cannot learn any other way.

Father, thank you that you are teaching me through Peter and his mistakes almost 2,000 years later. Thank you that I find my life only after I lose it. Thank you for the blessings you have, indeed, brought my way. Thank you also for the trials. I pray that every path my children follow, my wife follows, my loved ones follow, and that I follow will lead to the “concerns of God” and not my own concerns.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2018 in Matthew, Peter and John

 

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