September 4
‘When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.’ Galatians 2:11
Bible reading: Mark 8:31-33 (Go to the Bible passage)
How pleased the people were with Jesus when He healed their sick, but how the hatred grew when they began to understand His message. For His message was one of suffering, oppression and slander.
It already annoyed His disciples when He spoke of all the suffering and the hatred of the people that would come over Him. A lot more needed to happen before the disciples could accept the message that they too would not be spared the suffering. And who would not be annoyed when Jesus - after performing such tremendous miracles - started talking about slander and oppression? Everything was just going so well! Not only Jesus, but also His disciples were held in high regard.
Not just for the disciples it was hard to accept the message of suffering, no, we too prefer to hear a sermon about blessing, love, joy and grace, instead of a call for total submission and willingness to endure slander. In this we are really not so different from Peter who responded to the words of Jesus with ‘Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!’ (Matthew 16:22).
In the passage of today, we even read that Peter rebuked Jesus (:32), but Jesus could not possibly accept Peter’s rebuke. Not because He was his superior, but because this rebuke was unspiritual and therefore misleading. So it was for the sake of all the others that he openly called Peter an enemy, a Satan.
Every one of us becomes that when we are not focused on the things of God, but follow the voice of our own hearts. Then we become enemies, even though all the people around us may think that our thoughts are more attractive than the thoughts of God…

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