Easter in Peter's Heart?
The timing's a little off isn't it? We've just celebrated Easter, but in our Coffee Break group we're just approaching the Passion. But maybe that's good timing, because Easter isn't just one day a year--Easter is the resurrection life we're supposed to celebrate every day. And the Passion...? This week we read about Peter, just declared (last week) to be the rock on which the church would stand, now proving to be the stumbling block placing himself in Jesus' path. I wonder how often we are that stumbling block...
(48) Get Behind Me, Satan… and take up your cross?
Peter has confessed what the disciples are all beginning to accept, that Jesus is the Christ. But then, read Matthew 16:20, Mark 8:30, Luke 9:21 Jesus tells him to tell no one.
1. With the crowds all making their guesses, why doesn’t Jesus want the disciples to speak? Reading on, he seems to tie tell no one to his coming death; can you think how publicizing Peter’s answer might have altered events?
2. Can you think of times when it would be better for us not to speak what we know?
Jesus knows what’s coming. The disciples don’t. Read Matthew 16:21-22, Mark 8:31-32, Luke 9:21-22.
1. Are there times when you’ve tried to tell God what to do, or what must or must not happen? How did things play out on those occasions?
2. Do you identify with the other disciples, thinking but not saying No, or with Peter?
3. Does it help knowing Peter could be so wrong and still be the right person for the job?
4. Why do you think Luke doesn’t single out Peter?
Read Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33 Does Jesus rebuke Peter for Peter’s sake or for the disciples’ sake (or both)?
Jesus goes on to warn that his followers will suffer too. Read Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-37, Luke 9:23-25.
1. Is he speaking just to the disciples, or to a larger crowd?
2. For us, “cross” means Jesus. We read, “deny yourself” and “follow Jesus.” But for them, taking up your cross was a familiar, very immediate concept; it meant carrying the crossbeam to your own execution. What’s the difference? Can you rephrase Matthew 16:24 in more modern terms?
3. Does rephrasing verse 24 alter how you read verse 25? How do we deny ourselves, carry crosses, follow Him…?
4. Okay… More rephrasing. Some translations ask what it will profit to gain the whole world but lose your life. Others say “soul.” What’s a soul?
5. Jewish tradition didn’t include an immortal soul until Babylonian times. The word nephesh translated soul might mean something closer to living person (though in the Greek Bible, used by many Jews at the time, it was translated into the Greek word for immortal soul, hence the variations in translation). So… what’s a person? What might losing your personhood mean?
And now, having predicted his death, Jesus tells us what comes after: Read Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26
1. Are you surprised at how different these three verses are?
2. What’s the connection between works and shame?
3. What sort of “works” is Jesus talking about? What works is he calling you, us, our church… to? Are we rewarded?
Read Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27, John 21:22-23, Acts 7:55-56 Without reading onward, what do you think Jesus meant?
Matthew, Mark and Luke are about to relate Jesus’ transfiguration, which will be seen by three of the disciples. Could this be what Jesus was referring to as well?