From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
Jesus Christ predicted his death to his disciples. He would be handed over to the Gentiles, they would mock him, insult him, spit on him, and eventually kill him.
This was not a secret kept from Jesus’s disciples. He spoke it three times throughout their journey together (Matthew 16:21-28, 20:17-19, 26:1-2). And yet the message seemed to fall on confused and deaf ears.
The first time that Peter, one of the twelve of Jesus’s disciples heard Jesus speak of his impending persecution and death is in Matthew 16:21 “..he (Jesus) must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priest and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Peter’s response is one that I can imagine I would have, a good ol’ pep talk will snap Jesus out of this funk or negative talk, (21) “Never Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus’s response was not what Peter expected to hear, it was strong and stern and true.
“Get behind me, Satan!”
“You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Human concerns, it’s what we know as humans, it’s our flesh, our bias, our limited understanding, our default. And of course in that mode, as Peter was, we see it through our human filter. Our Lord, the Son of Man being brutalized and hurt, say it ain’t so Lord!
We listen to God through our human filters, our limited understanding of the world.
And this is where Jesus’s rebuke is so sharp and necessary. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” His death and resurrection wasn’t a bully on the playground scenario, it was the fulfillment of the Gospel.
He died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead,
showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted.
I read these accounts and try to imagine my own response in place of the disciples. Perhaps I too would be confused, busy with the details of travel, distracted, dense.
I don’t want to miss the details. As we prepare for Easter, we prepare for the celebration that is the fulfillment of Jesus’s predictions of his death and resurrection. He speaks, we will listen.
Perhaps the days leading up to Easter can be about listening to God. Clearing space to sit in expectancy. To limit the distractions in our life that create confusion and limited attention spans. We can not only listen when God speaks but concern ourselves with what concerns God.
- Lauree Austin, Afternoons with Lauree
A Song of Meditation: Word of God Speak, MercyMe
I’m finding myself at a loss for words And the funny thing is it’s okay
The last thing I need is to be heard But to hear what You would say [CHORUS]
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak
I’m finding myself in the midst of You Beyond the music, beyond the noise All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice