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Mark 125 - Unloading



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 concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”


Mark 8:32b,33


Jesus has just unloaded a truckload of information and pain on the disciples. He told them about his upcoming death, and that was so disillusioning. The person they left their homes for, left family, friends, and everything was near death.


They didn’t leave the familiar for a fortune, but for faith. They didn’t leave home for power or prestige, but for a person. All their certainty about that person, Jesus, was gone. It had been ripped out from underneath of them. Now this.


He’s going to be betrayed, arrested, tortured, and killed. Their heads must have been spinning. Their emotions must have been exploding. And there was no misunderstanding what Jesus said. He was so specific and clear that there was no way to “walk it back” or to say that there was some mistake.


It was in response to this shattering clarity that Peter speaks up. Into this upending and disturbing announcement by Jesus, Peter steps up to the plate to take a great big swing at leadership. And, like the mighty Casey, he struck out.


Let’s give Peter some credit. He didn’t immediately speak up and tell Jesus that he was wrong. He does not try to rebuke Jesus in front of a crowd. Peter pulls him aside, off to the side so that they can talk more privately.


And now, let’s give the writer of this letter, this gospel, some credit too. He does not record the words that Peter used when speaking to Jesus. But Matthew records at least some of Peter’s rebuke.


“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”


Matthew 16:22


To this rebuke, Jesus turns his back on Peter. He puts his back towards Peter while facing all the other disciples as a response to what Peter has been saying. All by itself, this was a public put-down of Peter in front of everyone. But Jesus doesn’t end it there. In essence, Jesus was describing Peter’s words as coming from Satan.


Now it was Peter who spoke the words, but Jesus ascribes the source of those words as coming directly from his enemy, our enemy, Satan. You may have trouble believing in someone who is the personification of evil. And that’s your right. But, statistically speaking, you are in a significant minority. Most people around the world believe in an evil person who is actively working against God, against good, and against us.


It may be uncomfortable to think about evil in these terms, but there is a spiritual reality that is just as real, just as active, just as motivated to achieve its evil aims. And they use people as their spokesmen.


Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.


1 John 4:1


There are spirits, and we’re to test the spirits. And how do we do this? Listen to people and what they say. For the most part, it’s easy to find false prophets based on what they say. They will ALL deny the deity of Jesus.


The test is simple. Was and is Jesus fully God and fully man? If not, then there’s no reason to run out and do anything they say. But if he is who he claims to be, then it makes all the difference in the world. It makes all the difference for yesterday. It makes all the difference for today. It makes all the difference for tomorrow.


If Jesus really is God, then his resurrection from the dead makes sense. If God comes down, dies for our sins, he wouldn’t stay dead. He’d be raised up so he could ascend back to heaven, to sit down on the throne of heaven where he came from


If he truly is who he claims to be, then it’s not all that hard to think about changing the direction of our lives. He becomes the most important thing in the universe, so we will want to worship and serve him.


He’s not unloading on us. He’s only telling us the truth. It only makes sense.

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