Discipleship: The Call (Matthew 16: 21-24, (NIV)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(This post is a revision of the Lenten thought I posted yesterday.)

Jesus makes three things abundantly clear to those who choose to follow him. They must develop spiritual insight; submit their will to the will of God, and understand from the beginning of their commitment to him that the life of a disciple is difficult.

Today’s lesson focuses on developing spiritual vision.  Jesus’ disciples are to view the world through spiritual lenses.  Hence, Jesus renders the following rebuke 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.” (Verse 23, NIV) The admonition was issued in response to Peter discounting Jesus’ prophecy about the circumstances of Jesus’ death.

Each time I read the exchange between Peter and Jesus,I am reminded of the countless times I have heard Christians scorn one another for speaking the truth, when that truth is uncomfortable, scary, or contradicts the hearer’s understanding of a biblical concept.  It happens most often among people who believe affirmation of the negative (acknowledgement of an illness or other problem) constitutes lack of faith. Those speaking the truth are often criticized and characterized as lacking faith or being negative, neither of which is necessarily true. Sometimes the person is simply stating a hard to swallow fact, such was the case in the referenced passage of Scripture that prompted Jesus to admonish Peter.

Conversely to Peter’s response to Jesus’ prophecy, there is not a single place in Scripture where Jesus admonished a person for confessing a need. To the contrary, people made their needs known to Jesus and he met those needs

So, a question for consideration is: “How does one develop spiritual insight?”  The answer that immediately comes to mind is to search the Scriptures; study history, and culture, and pray for God’s guidance.

Food for Thought

  1. How is the exchange between Jesus and Peter related to faith?
  2. Make a list of incidents recorded in the bible where either Jesus or his disciples rebuked a person for stating a personal need.

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