THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Last week Mark’s Gospel described the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, including his first temptation in the wilderness. This week, we move to the beginning of the journey to the cross, including Jesus’ second great temptation. Yesterday we read about Peter’s confident proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah. You would think this was a moment of triumph—Peter had suddenly “seen the light”. But, today, on this second Sunday in Lent, we realise that he had not yet understood what had been revealed to him.
Immediately after Peter’s announcement, Jesus began to predict his death. This was too much for Peter, who thought he knew what the Messiah would be and do, and so he, rather patronisingly, tried to correct Jesus, almost like an older brother pointing out his younger sibling’s foolishness. Jesus’ response was strong and surprising. He called Peter “Satan” not because he was judging Peter, but because, in that moment, Peter had become a tempter who was trying to lure Jesus away from his purpose. Jesus followed this up with a conversation about losing life in order to find it.
Peter’s mistake was to believe that his revelation of Jesus’ Messiahship gave him the right to be certain about who Jesus was and what he had come to do. He had moved from faith to certainty, and in the process, he became a tempter and an obstacle to God’s work. This week our readings will lead us deeper into the kind of faith that releases certainty and embraces the mystery and risk of following Jesus.
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