Mark 8:31-33 31And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must of necessity suffer many things and be tested and disapproved and rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and after three days rise again [from death]. 32And He said this freely (frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable). And Peter took Him by the hand and led Him aside and then [facing Him] began to rebuke Him. 33But turning around [His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men].
Jesus told His disciples everything He was going to have to endure, Peter basically said, “No, over my dead body”. And we know from studying it last week that Jesus then rebuked Peter. The last time we talked about this incident we focused on Jesus’ response, but today I want to talk a little bit about Peter. Why did Peter rebuke Jesus when He was talking about the suffering He was going to endure? Not just because he didn’t want to see Jesus go through torment, but also because he didn’t want to go through it himself. A few weeks ago my husband was talking about what it means to truly follow someone. Being a follower of someone means you go where they go, you do what they do, you see what they see and you endure what they endure. Because Peter was a follower of Jesus, His disciple, he knew that if Jesus was going to suffer, it meant he might have to suffer too.
In Matthew 26:31-35 31Then Jesus said to them, You will all be offended and stumble and fall away because of Me this night [distrusting and deserting Me], for it is written, I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. 32But after I am raised up [to life again], I will go ahead of you to Galilee. 33Peter declared to Him, Though they all are offended and stumble and fall away because of You [and distrust and desert You], I will never do so. 34Jesus said to him, Solemnly I declare to you, this very night, before a single rooster crows, you will deny and disown Me three times. 35Peter said to Him, Even if I must die with You, I will not deny or disown You! The night Jesus was taken away to be put on trial, and ultimately crucified, He prophesied to His disciples that they would fall away, and Peter again spoke up with an, “absolutely not, I’ll never disown you”. Of course we know that later in verses 69-75 69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and one maid came up to him and said, You were also with Jesus the Galilean! 70But he denied it falsely before them all, saying, I do not know what you mean. 71And when he had gone out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, This fellow was with Jesus the Nazarene! 72And again he denied it and disowned Him with an oath, saying, I do not know the Man! 73After a little while, the bystanders came up and said to Peter, You certainly are one of them too, for even your accent betrays you. 74Then Peter began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, I do not even know the Man! And at that moment a rooster crowed. 75And Peter remembered Jesus’ words, when He had said, Before a single rooster crows, you will deny and disown Me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Peter talked a good game, but when the pressure showed up he couldn’t follow through. Rather than be associated with Jesus as one of His disciples, and suffer any consequences Peter chose to deny Him instead. I wonder how many times we, as believers, deny Jesus rather than suffer the consequences of being His followers? The good news for us is if we have, there is still hope for us! In John 21:15-17 after his resurrection Jesus appeared to a few of His disciples and 15When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs. 16Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep. 17He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. Even though Peter hadn’t done so great in the disciple category, Jesus reminded him of what he had been commissioned to do, and set him back on track to his calling. Maybe you haven’t been so great at being Jesus disciple. That’s alright, just remember what you have been called to do and get back on track to fulfill your destiny in Christ.