When I went to Gettysburg Seminary, I traveled up route 15 three times a week. As a regular traveler, I knew that if I was at Battlefield Parkway and there was a truck ahead of me, I would be trapped behind that truck for the next 20 miles. Ugh! It would cost me 12 minutes. So, because I was late one class due to a slow truck up route 15, and the professor didn’t care that I traveled for an hour and a half or walked across campus, I added 15 minutes to my commute time.
I think that we always believe we are going in the direction God wants us to go. Maybe we are, but sometimes we are a big bulky truck in the fast lane of God’s will. We need the wisdom to know when we are in the way and to allow the cars to pass; we need to allow God to do his work at his pace, not ours.
That is what the Gospel is about. Peter is trying to stifle what Jesus knows he needs to do. Of course, Peter was only being protective of Jesus, but the end result was he was blocking Jesus’ way. Today we talk about God’s will and our will. We need to understand that there is really a difference, and like we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, we really want what God wants to have happen.
The Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:21-28
From that time on, [after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah,] Jesus began to show his disciples 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. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”