Ever had a time when you corrected someone and then found out you were wrong? Pretty embarrassing. Peter has just such an embarrassing moment where he corrects someone and then turns out to be wrong himself. That someone was Jesus and Peter rebuked Him for what He had said about being killed and rising again. Jesus reply - get behind me Satan. You are not setting your mind on God’s interests but on man’s. Peter did not yet understand fully even though he had just called Jesus the Son of God. And Jesus uses some very strong language here to rebuke him. If we are going to set our minds in the things of God, set our minds on things above we will have to do certain things:
1. Accept God’s story. God’s ways are very often different than ours and we struggle to understand. We view things from our own human, finite perspective, just as Peter did here. We may think that things will be better if we just do them our way. Saul did that on several occasions, as did others in the Bible. Peter’s possibly thinking, stop talking like that Jesus, you’re scaring everyone. None of us would ever have dreamed up the story of Jesus. A lowly carpenter being the Savior of the world? Christianity changed how stories were told from ancient times, when heroes were conquering kings, going about subduing enemies by force. Jesus changed the world by defeating death and be raised from the grave - this is God’s story, not man’s.
2. Seek honor from God. The cross means death, horrible, shameful death. No one in the first century would’ve said I want to follow someone who died on a cross. It was a well known instrument of shame in the eyes of the world. Jesus wants us to see it’s not about the honor of men, it’s about the honor and glory you get from God, by denying self and taking up the cross. Jesus turns the concept of shame around. What really matters is how God views you, not the world. If you do take up your cross and follow Him, you will be viewed as dishonorable in the eyes of the world. So you have a choice. Who’s honor do you want to seek and receive?
3. Part of that choice involves trusting in the “unbelievable.” It did with Peter. What? You’re going to die and be raised again? That’s unbelievable to Peter. Throughout the Bible, God’s people struggle to understand the miraculous events they have witnessed and to have a faith that endures following those events they have just witnessed. Can we trust in the things that seem impossible? So many stories in the Bible that we would deem impossible, unbelievable. That’s where our faith comes in. We choose to believe in the unbelievable. Taking up the cross means understanding what life is worth saving.