Day Twenty one: Wednesday, March 7

Mark 8:22-38
He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spat on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.

He looked up, and said, “I see men; for I see them like trees walking.”

Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly. He sent him away to his house, saying, “Don’t enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village.”

Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”

They told him, “John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

He commanded them that they should tell no one about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men.”

He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? For what will a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in his Father’s glory, with the holy angels.”

It is intriguing to consider 8:27-38 in terms of Peter’s comments and actions. He is the one who gives the right answer to Jesus’ question to the disciples. But Peter is also the one who voices the objections to any notion that the Messiah must suffer, be rejected, and die. Is Peter merely thick headed? No—as a matter of fact, he is extremely perceptive. Better than anyone else, he realizes the contradiction in any notion of a suffering, dying Messiah. He expresses a universal complaint about the scandal at the heart of the Christian faith (See I Corinthians 1:23)…What lies at the heart of Peter’s rather high handed objection?

It would be no surprise to hear that the future was fraught with danger. But Jesus talks openly about something else. “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected…and killed.” The plotting and scheming is not happening outside the plan of God for the Messiah. Peter, in fact, catches a fleeting glimpse ofthe “divine necessity”, of the kind of Messiah Jesus is to be, and he vehemently protests. Jesus takes it to be another temptation (“Satan”) to divert him from his messianic vocation.(Brueggemann, Cousar, Gaventa, Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Lectionary Commentary based on Year B, p. 512)

Day Twenty two: Thursday, March 8
Day Twenty: Tuesday, March 6