In the gospel reading today, Jesus begins to teach about how he will suffer, be rejected and die, but on the third day he will rise again.  It’s at this point that we see Peter’s confession from yesterday is a partial understanding of who Jesus is.

As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.  Jesus turned 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” (Mark 8:32-33).

Those are some pretty rough words there.  I can’t imagine the embarrassment that Peter felt after being called out like that, but did you notice why Jesus did it?  It wasn’t just for Peter’s sake, but for the sake of all his disciples.  Notice: Jesus looks at his disciples before he reprimands Peter.  He doesn’t want them all going astray in their thinking.

Even though Peter was right in saying that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, his understanding of what that meant was off base… which is, of course, a big reason why Jesus probably told the disciples not to tell anybody – he still had some teaching to do.

In some ways, we are all in the same boat as Peter.  We confess Jesus as the risen Lord, but, in reality, we still don’t fully know what that means.  We may have a particular understanding of Jesus, but Peter had a particular understanding of the Messiah as well.  We have to do our best to ensure that our understanding of Jesus is shaped by what has been revealed to us through Scripture, and not by our own philosophies or desires.  Peter – and the Jewish people – wanted a particular type of Messiah, but when Jesus came along, he showed us that we need to have a bigger perspective.  We need to see things from God’s point of view… and we’re not quite there.

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