Jesus tells his disciples not to tell anyone he is the Messiah. And then he launches into this strange teaching about being rejected. After undergoing great suffering he will be killed by scribes, elders and chief priests. Then, in three days, he will rise again from the dead.
I wonder what place of inner peace a person would need to occupy in order to hear this news without responding as Peter did. Alarm, denial, and arguing against this all seem like the correct emotional response. We have acquired a savior. Must we let him go so soon? And why? We need him!
He seems to want to teach us an understanding very different from what we expect. Central to it is this notion of rising from the dead after three days. He will conquer death by suffering it all the way through to the end and beyond. We can do this also… “Take up your cross,” he says, “and follow me.”
We are immortal beings. What difference would it make to us if we really understood that? Fear of death would take a back seat to the workings of love. But, like Peter, we get tangled up in the wrong things.
Help us to hear what we need to hear, O Beloved, and not to set our minds on human things. Help us to wake up into the reality of being your brothers and sisters, children of God.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and writer living in Fort Collins, Colorado. For more about her and a bit of her work, go here.