Extended reading: Matthew 16:17-20 Peter is the rock upon which Jesus builds his church
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Peter was appalled to think of Jesus suffering and dying. He was Jesus’ protector and friend and his first impulse to prevent any harm from coming to him. He didn’t understand that God’s plan of salvation was dependent on Jesus fulfilling his destiny.
Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. He was agonizing over the suffering he would endure. Peter, unknowingly, was like Satan in the desert tempting Jesus to disregard His Father’s will to save himself.
The disciples were told to take up take up their cross and follow Jesus. In order to find life they must first lose it.
Heavenly Father, thank you for leading out of my selfishness as I become the person you created me to be. Help me to give myself fully to you, to lay down my life, my will, and my limited understanding so that I can find real life in you. Give me the courage to be willing to suffer, even to death for your sake, if that is your will. Lord I pray for those people who live with the constant fear of death for following Jesus in the places in the world where that is common place. In Jesus’ name, Amen