Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Growing up in California, my friend and I liked to portray our heroes—Superman, Tarzan, and many others. The antics we did had no disclaimer as they do today: “Do not attempt this at home.” Well, to make a long story short, I ended up in the emergency room trying to emulate Superman. (No, I will not say what I attempted.) I remember Mom and Dad talking and the only words I remember were “What was he thinking!”
I’m quite sure that pretty well summarizes what Peter was saying to himself when Jesus got done describing what he was going to endure as the Christ. “What’s he thinking? He’s the Christ. I just confessed him to be God’s chosen one. What’s all this talk about going to Jerusalem? Why that’s crazy. His enemies are there, lying in wait; and yet he seems so set on going there to suffer rejection, beatings, humiliation and death. This can never happen to him. What’s he thinking?”
And yet it’s clear. In his shock over what Jesus was to endure, Peter missed the good news. Yes, Jesus would be rejected. Yes, he would suffer at the hands of the chief priests and elders of the people. Yes, they would succeed in taking his life. But on the third day he would rise again. On the third day Jesus would be declared the victor over sin and death. On the third day forgiveness, new life, and salvation would be guaranteed to all who looked to him and his cross in faith.
What was Jesus thinking? He was thinking of the joy set before him, the joy of heaven for you and me. He was thinking of you and me.
John Rainey, pastor, Leaksville Moravian Church
Eden North Carolina