Peter showed breath-taking boldness. Jesus had just forecast His own suffering and death, and Peter pulled Him aside and read Him the riot act. “We’ll have none of that kind of language. That’s crazy-talk!” he said. Or words to that effect. (Mark 8:31-33)
Jesus looked and saw the other disciples and fired back at Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan. You have no idea how God works!” Ouch. Did anyone see that coming? Where’s the gentle Jesus?
We might well-imagine the thick tension in the air. And over the centuries, Peter has copped plenty of bad press for his misguided and ignorant outburst.
“Breath-takingly bold,” we say, “to question and rebuke the Son of God.” But then it dawns on us. How breath-takingly normal.
Haven’t we all responded the same way at some time? “Lord, what do You think You’re doing? I’m one of yours. I attend church; I give; I serve. Why have I gotten cancer? Why is my house in foreclosure? Why have my children struggled? Why is my marriage so hard? Why didn’t I get that job?”
Suddenly, we become the Peter of Galilee.
Suffering and death—hardship and loss—are simply not in our script. We don’t like them. We don’t welcome them. We don’t deserve them. And we push back against the Lord, because we expected more and we expected better. We’d like to give Him a piece of our mind—the “mind set not on God’s interests, but man’s.” (NASB)
I don’t imagine that we’re any happier than Peter to hear Jesus say, “You have no idea how God works.” (The Message) We don’t. We know how we’d like Him to work. We know how we expect Him to work. But we really don’t understand His ways because we can’t see it all.
So, just when we roll our eyes at Peter’s impetuosity, we see ourselves. But perhaps we can hear Jesus say—graciously and kindly—that we’re not required to understand Him. Instead, we’re invited to trust Him; to trust the One who sees the beginning from the end, who knows the whole script and lovingly meets us in our reality rather than our fantasy.
May our own breath-taking boldness become increasingly rock-solid confidence in Christ.