Gospel Reflections (Mark 8:27-35)

 This is the turning-point of Mark’s gospel. Till now the stories we have heard have all spoken about ever-increasing wonder and amazement at Jesus’ personality, his goodness and his authority. But even his closest disciples do not seem to have seen what this means. Then suddenly Peter comes to the realisation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed of God, for whom everyone was waiting. However, Peter still does not understand what this implies. Jesus is not a conquering political hero, who will simply wipe out all opposition by overwhelming force, and make every path smooth and gentle. Jesus begins to show his disciples that the road to fulfilment is through suffering. Jesus repeats this prophecy of his suffering, death and resurrection another two times, and on each occasion the disciples fail to grasp the lesson; first it’s Peter, then the disciples who are arguing about precedence, and finally the two sons of Zebedee who want the best places for themselves. So three times Jesus repeats that if you want to follow him you must follow him to the Cross. Nor are we, later followers of Jesus, any quicker that the first disciples to learn this lesson if we greet any suffering that comes our way with indignation and evasion. Why does Jesus rebuke Peter so fiercely?

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