Mark: According to
Predictions and Being Right with God
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” I Peter 4:12, 13.
“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again.”
This would certainly not be something that the disciples would want to hear. In fact, for a disciple to hear that their teacher was to soon die would be very disheartening. But what must have made this more confusing is that Jesus not only predicted His death, but that He would rise again after three days.
Previously there had been subtle hints from Christ, but never before had He spoken of it so plainly. It was not a public announcement, but a lesson that He now gave to the disciples, which He discussed with them in plain, literal language.
Sadly, the disciples were forced to acknowledge that Israel had failed to recognize their Messiah. Some indeed, when they saw His miracles, had declared Him to be the Son of David. The multitudes that had been fed at Bethsaida had desired to proclaim Him king of Israel. Many were ready to accept Him as a prophet; but they did not believe Him to be the Messiah.
Interestingly enough, Peter from the very first day had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but he like so many others had believed that this would lead Jesus to be crowned King and to sit upon David’s throne and overthrow the tyranny of Roman Rule.
But Jesus desired that they know the full meaning of his mission so: “He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.”
Speechless with grief and amazement, the disciples were dumbfounded as they listened, yet they still hoped that Jesus would leave this life of poverty behind and ascend to the throne that was rightfully His.
Peter was the first to recover from the shock of what Jesus was saying. Peter, always outspoken, always ready to put his foot in his mouth, spoke to Jesus and told Him, “He couldn’t be anymore wrong in what He was saying.”
One of my favorite authors on the life of Christ, puts it this way. “Speechless with grief and amazement, the disciples listened. Christ had accepted Peter’s acknowledgement of Him as the Son of God; and now His words pointing to His suffering and death seemed incomprehensible. Peter could not keep silent. He laid hold upon his master, as if to draw Him back from His impending doom, exclaiming, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.’”
One would have thought Jesus would have welcomed words such as this from Peter but remember, throughout the life of Jesus it had been Satan’s desire to keep Jesus from ever getting to the cross. First by temptation, later by the people, priest, scribe and Pharisee always plotting to take his life Satan had attempted to thwart the plan of Salvation. Now Peter seems to have been enlisted by Satan to temp Christ.
Jesus saw through the words of Peter, even as well intentioned as they might have been, for it was indeed an attempt by Satan to rally the disciples to pronounce Jesus King of the Jews, but Satan was also trying to discourage Jesus, and turn Him from His mission. Peter, in his blind love, was giving voice to temptation.
“But when He turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter saying, Get behind Me Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
The words of Christ were spoken, not to Peter, but to the one who was trying to separate him from his Redeemer. “Get thee behind Me Satan.” No longer interpose between Me and My erring servant. Let Me come face to face with Peter, that I may reveal to him the mystery of My love.
It was a slow and painful lesson that Peter and the other disciples had to learn. Peter shrank from fellowship with his Lord in suffering. But in the heat of the furnace fire he was to learn its blessing. Long after, when Peter after years of active service to God was bowed from the burden from years of labor, Peter wrote, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed you may be glad also with exceeding joy” I Peter 4:12, 13.
You see, Christ’s death on the cross, and how it becomes the substitution for our sins when we accept this saving sacrifice, which is offered to us as free gift is a mystery. How it then grants us eternal life, when Christ returns in clouds of glory, is also a mystery. A mystery that we will have all eternity to study and learn from. It will be our work of eternity to learn of the mystery of salvation while setting at the scarred feet of our Saviour and Lord.
I can hardly blame the disciples for not understanding, because their minds were so full of the traditions and the teaching of man, that they failed to see Christ’s true mission.
Perhaps this is still our problem today. Our manmade teachings, our preconceived ideas, and the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, keep us from fully understanding Jesus and all of heaven’s sacrifice in Christ dying on the cross.
What Jesus endeavored to teach the disciples and us is that all the agony and humiliation that He was about to suffer, He did so that man could once again become right with God. That once again, mankind could one day soon be reunited with our heavenly Father because all that heaven has ever wanted is to be with us. He created us for us to be with Him and he died that once again mankind could become right with God and spend eternity with their Creator and Saviour.
So, what are you going to do with the evidence before us? Are you going to accept by faith this atoning sacrifice that Jesus made when he gave up the riches of heaven to be with us, and show us the character of the Father? If so, then pray with me that all our sins will be forgiven and by faith accept Christ as your personal Saviour.