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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Cross Avoidance

He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:32,33, NIV)

For the first time, Jesus plainly told His disciples that He was going to be killed and rise again three days later. Peter didn’t want to hear it.

Just moments before Peter had gone to the head of the class by being the first person to confess Jesus as Messiah. Now, he goes to the bottom of the class. The idea of Jesus being killed did not fit into his expectation of Jesus’ identity.

That’s often the case with us. We love Jesus. We make a correct confession as to who He is, but then He points us down a path we don’t want to take. We object and say to Him, “Surely, this is not part of the deal. You cannot be serious. I don’t want to take that direction.”

At least Peter had the courtesy to take Jesus aside and talk with Him privately. Actually, it was more than a “talk” — Peter rebuked Him. In other words, he vehemently protested and essentially said to the Lord, “You are the Messiah, but You are mistaken about what You’re supposed to do.”

Jesus turns the tables on Peter and responds with a rebuke of His own. Although Peter rebuked Jesus privately, the Lord rebukes Peter publicly in the presence of the other disciples. Not only does He confront him, Jesus goes a step further and identifies the source of Peter’s rebuke — it came from Satan. Jesus essentially says to Peter: “You have just been the mouthpiece of the devil.”

In our “feel good” culture, we might have expected Jesus to gently take Peter aside, lay an arm on his shoulder and tenderly tell him, “You know, Peter, that’s not what I have in mind. But, I so appreciate your suggestion because it shows how much you love Me. I just want you to know I’m concerned for you, and that maybe in the ultimate scheme of things you’ll understand about My death. But for right now, let’s just have a moment of prayer together, and we’ll talk about this later. Your concern means a lot to Me, and I value the comfort you give Me.”

Oh, no! Jesus will not have anyone tamper with His fundamental mission. Being tender with Peter at this point will neither help him nor the rest of the disciples grasp the severity of what is about to happen. Jesus will have none of Peter’s persuasive efforts and does not chalk up his counsel to good intentions.

If the cost of doing God’s will involves pain and suffering, the devil will always be whispering in our ear to avoid it — that God couldn’t possibly be in the pathway that costs us so much. Peter wanted Jesus to escape. Jesus knew He must endure.

That choice also frequently confronts us. We pray for escape rather than endurance. We want the easy way out. But, sometimes the Cross calls us as well. Our culture calls for self-fulfillment, and Jesus calls for self-denial.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I am guilty of asking You to give me pleasant circumstances and smooth sailing. I don’t like difficulty, adversity and self-denial. Forgive me for how often I reflect a mindset opposite Yours. May I be willing and ready to lay down my own self-interests to seek first Your will and Your kingdom.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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