From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.Matthew 16:21-22
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.Mark 8:31-32
Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.Luke 9:22
Unfortunately, our old human nature likes to focus on the bad things that we see and hear. This tendency to focus on the bad news will often block our hearing or remembering the good news that might accompany what we are learning. Further, we often listen to news with a preconceived idea of how we think things ought to be. This prejudiced view will taint the way we hear reports and can even cause us to doubt the gospel.
We do not know the exact reason Peter reacted the way he did. Perhaps he could not bear the thought of his mentor and friend suffering in such a way. Or perhaps he held the same view that most of the religious leaders did concerning the Messiah. If he was looking for Jesus to be a political Messiah and restore Israel to its glory in the world, then the death of the leader of the movement would not work. Regardless, of Peter’s reasoning, we just need to pause a moment and look at the drastic difference from what Peter said just a few verses before to how he is reacting now.
The man who made the great confession, “Thou art the Christ,” is now telling the Christ that He should not go do His job!
This problem would persist among the disciples even to the moment of Jesus’ trial and death. In fact, we see in Acts, Chapter one that there is still an improper focus on natural Israel’s political position being held by the disciples. In our current text and many other places, we can see the same result when a preconceived idea of “how things ought to be” is in conflict with the plain truth set before them. Since the disciples had an incorrect preconceived idea of what the Messiah would do, they often missed the point of the direct teaching of Jesus concerning His death, burial, and resurrection. Since it was not “the way they wanted or expected,” they mentally struggled with Jesus’ teaching and often (such as this case) openly rejected the idea.
We are in danger of the same kinds of reactions to the gospel of grace if we have prejudged how we think salvation works. Just like Israel wanting its former glory, if we have an inordinate affection for our own personal, “free” will, then we will most likely balk at the will of God in salvation that is so clearly expressed in scripture. Election, predestination, eternal justification and sanctification are all actions based on the good will of God toward us and are carried out by grace without our help or even acceptation of them. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that the Father accepted the work of Christ and our salvation is secure in His finished work!
What is important to notice in this account is that Peter, as well as the other disciples, missed the good news in the things that Jesus was telling them. They missed the fact that none of the suffering and persecution would be the end of the story. They forgot that Jesus said He would overcome all of it and be raised from the dead!
And this is how we should view salvation. Jesus Christ is raised victorious. If He is victorious then there is nothing left for us to win. We could not take one good step toward saving ourselves much less fully redeem ourselves from death in sin. We need to listen to the whole story and realize what it is saying.
Rather than focusing on a doctrine that we do not like, we need to embrace that doctrine in the full scheme of God’s design. We need to rejoice in the glory of God just like God does!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.Ephesians 1:3-6