“Jesus, is you crazy?” is what I like to think Peter said to Jesus when he was pulled aside by Peter and rebuked (Mark 8:32).
I always felt the most affinity with Peter, because we both have become very familiar with the taste of our feet.
But rebuking Jesus? That’s a whole new level.
Peter had a break through.
Jesus was asking the disciples, “Who do the people say I am?”
After fielding some answers, Jesus then asks, “Who do you say I am?”
Peter spoke up. “You’re the Messiah.” And then, the very next section of Mark, Peter is rebuking the one he claimed to be Messiah.
For me, it’s because, like many of us, Peter had different expectations of Jesus and Jesus’ purpose and mission.
It took Mark 8 chapters before he introduced the word “Messiah” to his gospel.
Perhaps some of us forget how powerful and politically charged of a word “messiah” was at that time.
The messiah was to come and bring freedom to the Jews. Release them from the oppression from the Powers-That-Be. Freedom to be themselves, govern themselves, and so forth.
By proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah, Peter is saying that Jesus is not merely a great teacher or a great prophet but “a royal figure who will restore the political fortunes of Israel. The revolution, Peter is saying, is at hand” (Chad Myers).
And the very next story that follows Peter’s confession, is Jesus’ prediction of his death.
So here’s Peter, fully believing that Jesus is the Messiah, and fully believing that the revolution is beginning; he hears Jesus predicting his death.
A dead leader is no leader.
The revolution that Peter had in mind could not achieved by a dead Messiah.
Jesus must be mistaken.
He can’t die.
He’s talking nonsense.
Doesn’t he know what he’s going to do? He’s going to restore our nation!
You can’t do that being dead. The revolution will not last if he’s dead.
Jesus, is you crazy?
But of course, Peter’s expectation of Christ was far different from Christ himself.
And at that moment, Peter couldn’t see that.
Perhaps, he still couldn’t see it while Jesus was being taken into custody.
Maybe he still thought that Jesus was the warrior type Messiah. To see him chained, whipped, spat on, dragged, punched… it must have been quite embarrassing to have once believed this man was going to politically restore Israel. He had to deny his association with Jesus, because, perhaps, this broken man wasn’t the Jesus he thought he was associated with.
Peter’s not that much different from us.
He believed that Jesus was to be a certain type of Messiah.
We often want Jesus to be a certain type of God, than the God Jesus really is.
How often have we wanted Christ to be who we wanted him to be, instead of who Christ really is?
How many times have we wanted Christ to act, talk, think the way we act, talk and think?
How many times have we wanted Christ to hate the very same people we hate?
How many times have we, instead of seeking Jesus’ will, we just ask Jesus to bless ours?
We have to remember that Jesus is bigger than our expectations and who we think Jesus should be.
And, it’s probably safe to be reminded that we’re nothing but followers of Christ, never Christ himself.