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 spoke this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Mark 8:31-33
Dear Lord Jesus, one of the many things I cherish about the Bible is the way it robs me of my penchant for hero worship. Who but God would write a book documenting the foibles and failures of so many of his sons and daughters? Who but God would chronicle the ways his chosen leaders limp along and prove themselves to be in constant need of mercy and grace?
This gives me great encouragement and hope. It also gives me freedom to acknowledge that I need the gospel today just as much as the first day I believed it. This will be just as true tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Keep me convinced, Lord Jesus, because I’m much like Peter. In my own ways, like Peter, I try also try to “keep you from the cross.”
When I mute my heart to the insult of grace—minimizing my need of the gospel, I deny your cross. When I think, even for one moment, that my obedience merits anything, or makes you love me more than you already do, I deny your cross.
When I put others under the microscope and measure of performance-based living—coping a critical spirit and judgmental attitude, I deny your cross. When I wallow in self-contempt and shame—disbelieving and dismissing your great love lavished upon us in the gospel, I deny your cross. When I’d rather do penance than repent and collapse upon the riches of grace, once again, I deny your cross.
Lord Jesus, by the power of the gospel, help me to mind the things of God more than I’m influenced by the way men normally think. May your cross get bigger and bigger to me, and may my boast in it grow louder and louder. Jesus, you’re the only hero in the Bible, and I’m more than fine with that. We matter, but you alone are the point. Hallelujah! So very Amen I pray, in your patient and persistent name.