Markby Robert M. Solomon
After Peter was commended for declaring the revealed truth about Jesus, the Lord then taught that He ″must suffer many things″ (v. 31). It must have disturbed the disciples to learn that their Messiah would have to suffer. Would not the Messiah be strong and victorious? Why was Jesus talking about suffering? Their beloved Teacher suffering? Surely not! As they reeled from what He had just said, Jesus gave further details. He will be rejected by the leaders and killed, but He will rise again after three days (v. 31). ″He spoke plainly about this″ (v. 32)-He was not speaking symbolically. All this will happen because of human sin and God's love.
Peter could not take it anymore and ″took him aside and began to rebuke him″ (v. 32). Imagine that: Peter rebuking Jesus! Peter was convinced that the Messiah would ascend a throne, not hang on a cross. He must have chided Jesus for talking like a defeated man. Jesus then rebuked Peter: ″Get behind me Satan! . . . You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns″ (v. 33). He who, only a while ago, was commended for speaking what heaven had revealed had now given ear to Satan's whispers and the chatter of men. How easy to fall like this!
Peter was like the blind man of Bethsaida who could only see partially for a while; he needed a second touch. He may have had sight but lacked insight. Jesus then made clear the ways of His kingdom-it was the way of the cross. Anyone who sought to follow Christ must ″deny themselves and take up their cross″ (v. 34). Jesus then stated some related principles. We gain eternal life by losing our earthly lives for Christ (v. 35). Weighed against all that the world offers is the value of one's soul (vv. 36-37). If a disciple is ashamed of Jesus in an ungodly world, Jesus will be ashamed of him when He returns (v. 38).
This may have sounded rather depressing to the disciples, who were expecting the kingdom to come about in a different way. But Jesus assured them that some among the crowd would see the kingdom of God come with power-which prepares three disciples for the Transfiguration experience (Mark 9:2-8). Dark clouds were gathering, but bright sunshine lay beyond them.
Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Why must the Messiah be also the Suffering Servant? Why did the disciples have difficulty understanding this? How does the truth of the Suffering Messiah help you in your walk with Him?
What satanic whispers and human chatter exist today to distort the truth about Jesus? How would you correct them? Consider the principles of following Christ that Jesus taught.