And He (Jesus) 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 said 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)
Ouch! That must have hurt, having your Lord and Master call you "Satan" and rebuke you for having your mind set on human things instead of God's. And yet Jesus was right. Satan was acting through Peter at that moment—trying to turn Jesus aside from the path God wanted Him to walk, the path to the cross.
Peter had gotten the first part of the test right—he answered the question "Who do you say that I am?" with "The Christ, the Son of the Living God." But he completely missed the second, implicit question, "What am I here to do?" And he wouldn't figure it out until well after Jesus completed His mission—until Jesus indeed suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Then Peter finally got it.
I am so very, very glad that Jesus didn't listen to the devil speaking through Peter. The devil's aim was to keep us all in slavery, to prevent Jesus from setting us free to be children of God living in God's kingdom. But Jesus wasn't going to have that. He came to give us freedom, to give us life—and that abundantly.
Jesus is human as well as divine. It couldn't have been easy for Him to walk around knowing the precise pattern of His death so far ahead of time. It couldn't have been easy to set His face toward Jerusalem, knowing what waited for Him there. And yet He did it. He did it because of the prize, the joy set before Him—because of you and me. His suffering and death would mean our everlasting life. His resurrection would be our joy and happiness forever. In His eyes, it was worth it.
You were worth it.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me enough to bear the cross to set me free. Amen.
* How would you feel if you could know the exact details of your death ahead of time?
* Have you ever had to bear pain in order to help someone else? When?
* How did you feel about the pain you bore for that person? Do you think Jesus felt similarly about the pain He bore for you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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