Matthew 16:21-28 (NRSV)
Verse 21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. Verse 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." Verse 23But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
Verse 24Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Verse 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Verse 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? Verse 27"For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Verse 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
How disappointing it must have been for Jesus to see his newly anointed “rock,” to whom he had promised the very keys of the kingdom, so suddenly turn into an obstacle in his path to the cross. If you have ever entrusted responsibility to someone—someone who was blessed with insight and spoke truthful words—and then been let down, you know a little of Jesus’ anger and frustration.
The temptation at these times is to stop trusting others at all. To go it alone, and attempt the cruciform life solo. Jesus instead turned immediately from this disappointment to issue a challenge to all his disciples: if you want to follow me, follow in my steps. He must have still believed in them, or made a choice to believe, or he wouldn’t have offered them this path. How good for us that when disciples fail, Jesus recommits to the possibility of discipleship.
Lord, you have trusted me with much, and still I often trip you up in what you are seeking to do. Forgive me and call me again to walk in your way. Amen.