Like Abraham and Sarah before him, Simon gets a name
change. Jesus calls Simon to follow him (Mark 1:17) and
then changes his name to Peter, which means "rock"
(Mark 3:16). And Peter is indeed a rock--thick-headed
and stubborn. But sometimes he gets it right. Jesus asks,
"Who do you say that I am?" And Peter responds, "You are
the Messiah" (Mark 8:29). Peter is right, but he doesn't
understand what being the Messiah means. This Messiah,
the promised Son of David, tells them that he will die
a criminal's death, and then will rise again. In response,
rock-headed Peter rebukes Jesus, and then Jesus gives
him another name, "Get behind me, Satan!"
Yet, thankfully, that is not the end of the story. It's not the
end of the story for Jesus and it's not the end of the story
for Peter. The angels at the empty tomb single him out
for a special message: "He has been raised; he is not here
. . . Go, tell his disciples and Peter" (Mark 16:6-7). And
Peter for the rest of his life proclaims this crucified-andrisen
Messiah, the bedrock on which the church is built.
Lord Jesus, forgive us when we are thick-headed. Correct
us when we are wrong and enlighten us with your truth,
so we might proclaim you to a world in need. Amen.
Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."