The Lord’s Agenda
“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
- Mark 8:31-33
To truly appreciate these words of Jesus, we need to look back at the events recorded earlier in this narrative. Jesus and his disciples had been hard at work. Jesus had been teaching, healing, and then feeding the more than four thousand people who had gathered around him for ministry. Meanwhile, the disciples had been assisting Jesus, passing out food, and absorbing the teachings of Jesus. After the miraculous feeding, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees, then he miraculously healed a blind man. As Jesus and the disciples walked towards Caesarea Philippi, Jesus the asked the disciples two questions: “Who do people say that I am?”
and “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter made his great profession, “You are the Christ”
The disciples had experienced the power of Jesus, the brilliance of Jesus, and the assurance that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Those were exciting times for them. Surely, they were looking forward to more of Jesus building his kingdom on earth. The disciples had an agenda for Jesus, the crowds had an agenda for Jesus, and then the Lord had an agenda for Jesus. Each of these agendas collided as Jesus told the disciples of his upcoming rejection, death, and resurrection.
Peter, feeling quite confident in himself after the great confession and Jesus’ affirmation of him, challenged Jesus on this plan of suffering, death, and resurrection. That could never happen to Jesus! He was the Messiah; he was the true king of Israel; and he was to establish his earthly kingdom in which there would be peace for the nation of Israel as well as new power. In focusing on his own agenda, Peter did not see God’s agenda for Jesus. Jesus’ response surely jolted Peter. He went from being called the rock to being called Satan (See Matthew 16:13-23). Jesus called Peter to abandon his agenda and to embrace the Lord’s agenda. To be a disciple of Jesus was to see as God sees and not as man sees.
Isn’t that our challenge still today? We make plans for our lives, and we want the Lord to fully cooperate with our plans. When he directs us in a different way or deliberately closes doors, we fuss and whine. However, the Lord calls us to see with his eyes and to embrace his agenda which often means leaving our own behind us.
The season of Lent is an opportune time to lay our agendas before the Lord, to ask him if we are seeing what he wants us to see and pursuing what he wants us to pursue. When the Lord challenges and redirects us, it is always for a better plan. He longs to grow us into faithful kingdom builders. Reflection:
Are you embracing God’s agenda or holding onto your own? What would the Lord ask you to surrender to him today?
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