And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected…and be killed, and after three days rise again…And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.
Sometimes protection is the opposite of what God wants for us. Most of us think we want to hear the truth, and to some extent we really do. But what we want even more, is to get around the difficult parts of the truth. Jesus talked about suffering AND resurrection, but in prioritizing His protection, all the disciples could hear, even as he talked about both, was the suffering. Jesus was surrounded, as we are, with people who prioritized his protection. They felt it was their duty to make sure He was safe. Peter, the one who had just acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, was now correcting Christ, I’m sure, “for his own good.” How many of us have loved ones who know better what is good for us than the suffering we must undergo for others’ good?
When I was a kid, I used to play “kick the can” with all my friends. It was a game of hide-and-go-seek with an added intrigue: If you were tagged, you had to go to “jail” (stand touching a tree). Only someone who was brave enough to leave their hiding place and kick the can before the one who was “IT” could get there could set the prisoners free. One night I had hidden so well that “IT” couldn’t find me, and I was confronted with the challenging decision of staying safe and “winning” or risking a run for a goal that could set everyone free.
It’s a choice we all have to make: “Will I do what is best for me or for others? Will I face a difficult issue, when I could keep quiet and stay safe?” We must decide on the cost of taking action in controversial, and threatening, circumstances.
Lord, it’s my safety or their benefit today. Let me choose them. Amen.