Often political observers will make the statement ‘what a difference a week makes..’ This might apply as we consider our Gospel this weekend. Just last weekend we heard the marvelous confession of faith from Peter, a confession that led to Jesus himself naming Peter as the Rock on which he would build his Church. But just one week later we hear the same Jesus calling Peter Satan and telling him to get behind him. Peter literally goes from ‘hero to zero’. When naming Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God, Peter has becomes the mouth piece of God the Father. When remonstrating with Jesus and advising Jesus that he need not suffer, Peter voices the temptations of Satan, temptations Jesus has already dealt with during his 40 days in the desert.
It’s a divine reality that our journey of faith will involve the embracing of the cross. To some extent we may be able to avoid the cross, but to do so will inevitably lead to compromising the truth. Jesus carried his cross up the hill of Calvary to show us that the cross need not lead to death.
The rebuke of Jesus set Peter on a path, a path that would lead him to understand that his own suffering and weakness could be transformed by the risen Christ into something life giving. Or, as Jesus more eloquently said “…anyone who loses their life for my sake, will find it.”