“And he 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 spoke 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
“Jesus, one of the many things I cherish about the Bible is the way it robs me of my penchant for hero worship. Who but God would write a book documenting the foibles and failures of so many of his sons and daughters? Who but God would chronicle the ways his chosen leaders limp along and prove themselves to be in constant need of mercy and grace?
This gives me great encouragement and hope. It also gives me freedom to acknowledge that I need the gospel today just as much as the first day I believed it. This will be just as true tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Keep me convinced, Jesus, because I am like Peter.
It’s one thing for me to stress and stew about the ways this generation is distancing itself from your cross. But it’s quite another to see the subtle ways I try to keep you from the cross. Deal with me as you dealt with Peter.
When I mute my heart to the insult of grace, I deny your cross. When I think, even for one moment, that my obedience merits anything, I deny your cross. When I put others under the microscope and measure of performance-based living, I deny your cross. When I wallow in self-contempt and shame, I deny your cross. When I’d rather do penance than repent, I deny your cross.
By the gospel, help me to mind the things of God more than the things of men. May your cross get bigger, and may my boast in it grow louder. Jesus, you’re the only hero in the Bible, and I’m fine with that. I pray in your patient and persistent name. Amen.”