Last Sunday, we heard Peter name Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. We thought about how Peter is saying who Jesus is, to whom he belongs, and what he will do. Jesus is the Chosen One, the Son of our God whose life is so much stronger than death. This Sunday we hear how much Jesus wants his disciples to understand this.
Jesus tries to show them,
that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
What do we hear Jesus say?
Jesus will die. Jesus will be raised to new life on the third day.
But what does Peter hear? Peter only hears that Jesus will die. Peter does not want this to happen. Peter thinks that death is the end of life. And he does not like this.
So Peter says,
“God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”
God forbid. Peter wants God to say "no" to Jesus. He wants to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem, because Peter thinks that death is the end of life.
But Jesus wants Peter to think differently. He says,
“you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
"Human things" means thinking the way people think.
"Divine things" means thinking the way God thinks.
Jesus, the Son of the living God, wants Peter to think not like people, but like God.
Peter thinks that death is the end of life, but that is how people think, not how God thinks. God does not say "no" to Jesus going to Jerusalem because God says "yes" to life, and Jesus says, "Yes, yes, yes!" too.
We remember something that Peter has forgotten. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He says,
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
The Good Shepherd gives everything he has—his whole life—to the sheep. His life is his gift. Yes, he will die on the cross, but he knows that on the third day God will raise him to new life, never to die again. He will have eternal life. Abundant life.
Death is not the end of life! It is not the end for Jesus and it is not the end for the sheep, either. He says,
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b)
Death is not the end of life. Jesus knows this is so, and he wants Peter to understand, too. He says to his sheep and he says to Peter,
Jesus has so much to show us.