Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. He was openly talking about this. So Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!”
Mark 8:31-33 (HCSB)
Growing up in the church, this story of Christ talking about His imminent death wasn’t one covered often on the flannelgraph. We’d have the mini-loaves and fishes demonstration, the healing of the blind man, but there wasn’t a discussion on this story that is a turning point in the disciples’ relationship with Christ.
It wasn’t until I was older that I read this story, and was taken aback at how Christ called Peter Satan. I mean, this guy had his issues, for sure, but he was a tad bit mistaken and Christ called him the devil?
For years I struggled with this story, three verses wedged into Mark and the rebuke of Peter. I just couldn’t grasp why Peter’s concerns over Christ’s revelation of His death would be worth such harsh language from the Messiah.
Now I get it though…I see where Christ was frustrated because the disciples were still concerning themselves with the temporary. They were honed in on human concerns, such as bread for their boat trip, than they were for the ministry Christ was revealing throughout their journey. They had been front row for the casting out of demons, the healings of many, the raising of the dead girl, and even the teachings to the multitudes.
And they just weren’t getting it.
They were anxious over food. Over losing Christ.
Yet, don’t we often do the same? Even in our utter dependence on Him, in our valleys and our mountains we concern ourselves with the temporary of this earth. We find ourselves worrying over a test, money, or our marital status, all of which are things to be concerned over in our human thinking. But Christ reminds us here that these aren’t concerns to God. They just aren’t. That’s not to cast off these are trivial or meaningless.
They are temporary. Fleeting. Momentary. Earth-bound.
Christ calls us to the eternal. Being concerned with love, compassion, mercy, justice, patience, redemption, salvation. He calls us beyond bread to Living Water. To have cares and concerns that reflect His heart and His concerns. We know He is sovereign in our temporary, but we must also be diligent to keep the eternal as the priority.