January 24, 2014
No More Mr. Nice Guy ~~ Lillian Daniel
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” From Mark 8:31-38
Some people paint a picture of Jesus as the ultimate nice guy, a man who never hurts anyone’s feelings and only says loving and uplifting things. It’s as if they think Jesus is the world’s most sensitive man. Clearly these folks have not read this scripture. Here he is in a fight with his friend Peter, and he’s got the emotional gloves off. Jesus even calls him “Satan.”
Peter was Jesus’ real friend. You can tell that by the way they argue. It’s always Peter who asks Jesus the hard questions. In this case, Peter is fed up with hearing Jesus’ doom and gloom predictions. He doesn’t want to hear Jesus talk about his impending death and suffering. What friend would?
But what Peter misses is the line about rising again after three days. Or perhaps he hears it but can’t take it in , or simply can’t believe it. So he tells Jesus to stop it. And Jesus fires back with some good old-fashioned name-calling, telling Peter to focus on God’s big reality rather than his own small one.
As a human being, Jesus clearly had a temper. He told the people he loved what the thought of them, even when they were annoying him. He was no Mr. Nice Guy. He loved us too much for that.
PRAYER: Loving God, your son did not always speak gently. Sometimes he expressed anger in the cause of teaching the people he loved. Help me to understand the place of anger and honesty in my own life, and to use it carefully and caringly. Amen.
God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 26.