Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday Devotions: Lent 2 - Confrontation

Lectionary verse

Mark 8: 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (NIV)

Peter was perhaps Jesus' greatest friend. The Big Fisherman probably prided himself in being such a key person in Christ's life. But even friends make mistakes. Peter oversteps his mark here and begins to meddle in Christ's ministry. He thinks that he can persuade Jesus not to go to Jerusalem to face his foes. Peter is trying to protect Jesus, but in actual fact, he is innocently placing a huge temptation on Christ's path.

It would have been easy for Jesus to say, "You know what, Peter? You are absolutely right. There's no need to head into trouble right now. We can spend a couple of more years travelling up and down the country, healing more people and preaching the Good news to more villages, towns and cities. In a couple of years time, all of this opposition will have been won over and we can make our move on Jerusalem then."

But Jesus didn't respond that way, instead He fiercely confronts Peter, calling his friend the Devil incarnate. Those words must have stung Peter and perhaps their friendship was soured for a while. But it had to be done. If Jesus hadn't called Peter to task then, He would have failed in His mission and the world would not have been saved.

Sometimes Jesus has to rebuke us too. There are things that we think is right and we choose to sincerely justify them. But we can sincerely wrong and when Jesus confronts us and challenges our choices, we need to be open to His guidance, His advice, His way of doing things.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, many things are going to happen to me today and I will have a lot of choices to make. Help me to be open to Your counsel, Your words and Your ways. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

John Stuart, aka Stushie, is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. he writes the daily devotional Heaven's Highway, which he podcasts as "Stushie's Stuff."

Today's art is called "Sleep On, Simon Peter" - by Stushie

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