I was talking to my husband about this week’s calendar, and whether I could fit a book group gathering into the schedule. From the back of the van came this question, “Do you guys even read?” My son’s question came from a misunderstanding, but it also contained a lot of truth. Some of the women in this group read the books, others don’t. Each meeting seems to have fewer minutes of book talk and more conversation about children, school, work, and well, life. One member’s son calls it her ‘fake book group.’ I know it’s not the only area of my life where I describe myself one way, but the reality behind the words is something else.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life. Matthew 16:21-26
In The Message Bible, Jesus tells Peter, “You have no idea how God works.” And to the disciples, he says, “You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.”
How much am I like Peter? He’s just been named the rock on which Christ will build his church, and is now struggling to grasp Jesus’ purpose. Can I grasp what it means for Jesus to be God’s son, in all that demands? When I say I am a follower of Jesus, how might that perceptive voice from the back of the van call me out?
Peter is all of these things – faithful, friend, flawed, foundation, follower. What does his story teach us?
Lord, help me to follow you.
(Guest blogger Sarah Storvick)