THE EASIER, SOFTER WAY
“And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly/openly (παρρησίᾳ). And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you do not have in mind (οὐ φρονεῖς) the things of God, but the things of men.’ And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Mk 8: 31-34)
And He said this “plainly.” Both the thing about His suffering, being rejected and killed and rising again, – and the thing about Peter being (a) “Satan,” which in Hebrew means “accuser” or “adversary.” In this case, Peter is speaking “against” the Lord and not for Him, by trying to talk Him out of His chosen Way, of the Cross. The Lord chooses this Way, of the Life-Giving Wood, or the Tree of Life, ever since we chose the way of the Satan who spoke to us from a death-bringing Tree. Christ is turning around, or re-defining, the meaning and power of the Tree, from which we chose to eat in the garden. He’s “working with” and thus respecting our choice, our decision, – rather than just dismissing it, – but He’s also overcoming its damage or “sting” to us by His death-trampling Self.
But Peter thinks he knows better. As do we, sometimes, when God allows for us or our loved ones to walk through suffering or rejection or even death, that we may receive new life. But let me trust Him today, when He offers me not escape, and not some easier, softer way, but The Way of walking through things. Let me let Him help me today, to accept responsibility and do the next right thing, by the life-bringing power of the Cross. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!