Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah … and … Jesus Predicts His Death
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”
Drawn to this reading, via Facebook for yesterday’s bible passage, I heard a chuckle and whisper:
“Don’t hear that much in church committees, Paul.”
I have heard these verses taught and preached many times during the annual “Walk With Jesus” to the Cross (and beyond). Yet never with a chuckle or any connection to “how we do church” nowadays.
Every committee I had the pleasure to attend seemed to walk less in faith and more to the trumpet of a thoroughly-worked-and-tested-spreadsheet. Finance is always the biggest most important agenda item … How much coming in – how much going out. Walking in faith (when it comes to money) is geared to knowing “we” can afford this.
Which is not faith at all (it seems to me). Yet always surrounded by prayers that “in” would support (“the work”) of “out”.
Year after year we “Walk With Jesus” each Lent … celebrating His selflessness … His humility grounded in both eternity and absolute power … seeking to mimic Him in the smallest of ways … astounded by his example of Love for us “poor unworthy without You we are nothing” sinners …
But then revert to form when it comes to running church: spreadsheets are the way – faith not so much.
Yet here we have The Man himself teaching his disciples (of less than three short years) that the whole thing will come tumbling down (but not) … that THEY should walk through this firestorm in faith … WILLINGLY walk through this firestorm … taught by The Teacher to walk both TOWARDS and THROUGH (what any church committee nowadays would regard as abject and foreseeable) “failure”.
Yet we pick through the “Walk With Jesus” selecting the bits we like …
. The emotion of sacrifice (but not the reality).
. The example of faith (but not the reality).
. The example of selflessness (but … you get the picture).
We teach this as THE cornerstone of “our” Faith … “Look at what He did for us (i.e. you who is not saved yet) – us (i.e “you”) who are “poor unworthy without You we are nothing” sinners.” And the next committee meeting rolls around and is signed-off as usual – spreadsheets guiding where the committee leads.
As always those in church will – quite rightly – challenge these words.
There are examples of walking in faith when the spreadsheets said no. Spreadsheets are necessary – but used in support of walking in faith.
And yet …
a) a respected and esteemed committee member PLUS a compelling spreadsheet answering all doubts
b) an “ordinary Joe” with “vision” but no spreadsheets – no experience of “how committees work” – no deference to “how we do things around here”
The vote is easy to predict.
“He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”
We are happy to forgive Peter’s “three times” (because that lets us off the hook?) … Yet teach against him “rebuking” Jesus for “speaking plainly” …
(But do the same week after week in church to each other because “That’s not how we do things around here.”)