Wednesday, March 4. Matthew 16:13-23.
Do you ever dream of being something great; like a professional athlete, a famous actor, or a ground-breaking scientist? It is fun to dream about the fame and glory, but we often forget how much hard work it took for people to acheive those things.
I’ve always dreamed of being an animator for Disney. I love watching animated movies. Every time I watch one I am inspired to run down to my studio and draw, and I get a little sad that I didn’t pursue that dream. I also love watching the bonus features almost as much as the movie itself. The behind-the-scenes documentaries remind me of how much hard work it took to make the movie. Hundreds of people spent years of tedious labor to make the movie that seems so effortless in its final version. The behind-the-scentes helps me to remember that I really didn’t want to go through the pain of being an animator as much as I wanted the glory of the finished product.
The apostle Peter runs into this same dilemma in our reading today. In the first part of the passage, Peter is filled with the starry-eyed dream of Jesus as the Messiah. I’m sure Peter was also imagining himself as the new king’s right-hand-man. Then Jesus tells the disciples that he must be crucified and die when he gets to Jerusalem. Peter told him that can’t happen. Jesus calls Peter Satan and tells him that it must happen.
Ouch. Peter went from being the rock on which Jesus would build his church to being Satan in one conversation. That’s because Peter did not yet realize that the only way to get to the true, deep glory of God’s Kingdom is to go to the cross first. If we want glory for ourselves, then we are Satan; we are opposed to the ways of God. If we are willing to give up ourself for the good of others, then we are starting to get the picture.
I take comfort from Peter. He was both rock and Satan. Martin Luther called that being both Sinner and Saint. We are all a mixed bag and a work in progress.
May you remember, today, that Jesus was willing to go to the cross for you. He invites us to follow. The glory is not ours. May we bring glory to God today.