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Rebuking the Anointed One

“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him" (Mk. 8:32).

Also, see Mk. 8:27-33.

This little peek behind the curtain catches me each time that I read this passage.

I know it is there, but I get hung up on it each time.

What was Peter thinking?

Peter has just confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Jesus has not been anointed by a human or a prophet, but instead, by the very Spirit of God. This language is tied to the practice of anointing a leader with oil as Saul and David were anointed. By this time in Jewish history, the “anointed one” clearly had Messianic overtures, not just the anointing of a leader. Peter was saying, “You are the fulfillment of Israel’s hope for a deliverer.” “You are the embodiment of God’s promise.”

Jesus then tries to warn the disciples of how difficult the road is ahead.

A couple years ago, my friend and ABC Global Servant David Reed rode the Triple Bypass bike ride in Colorado. In this 120-mile ride

from Evergreen to Avon crossing over Juniper Pass, Loveland Pass, Swan Mountain and Vail Pass, riders earn true bragging rights as

they celebrate the completion of 10,000-feet of elevation climbs in one day. However, you better know what you are facing. You don’t just decided to “play it by ear.” You train, you strategize, you get your crew to go with you. And, you pray that you survive the ride.

I think Jesus was trying to warn his disciples. I am going to face this. I am going to be rejected and crucified. He is also preparing them for the heartache and suffering that they would have to go through.

Peter called Jesus over, “Lord you can’t let this happen.” I guess as I read this, I am trying to imagine myself rebuking one of my mentors (none of whom were “the Anointed One) in this way.

Then, I play with how Peter might have said this. Was it, “Jesus, you are not going to die. Stop saying that. You are going to scare off your followers. You are scaring me.”

Or was it, “Lord don’t say that. We would be lost without you. Let’s go back to Galilee?” In the end, I want to stop there. If I stop here, it is about Peter. If I read further, I hear Jesus’ words, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Let’s just deal with Peter’s audacity to tell Jesus what he can and can’t do. Jesus is saying, “Your mind and you faith are in different places than where I need you to be for the next chapter of my ministry. I need you to let go of some things so that you can catch up.”

The power of Scripture is that it is still alive today. It doesn’t allow me to leave it at Peter’s audacity.

I have to wrestle with the question, “How am I setting my mind on human things, not divine things?” I have to confess that there are times that I create idols of my desires and plans.

Each time one of the gospel writers record Jesus saying, “You of little faith,” Jesus is talking to his disciples. Not the Pharisees or the Romans. These disciples who follow him, who have left everything, and in whom he will soon entrust the church. These are the ones that he describes as “people of little faith.”

I guess I am surprised that Peter didn’t quit.

Even though Jesus rebuked him harshly, he stuck with Jesus. When Jesus rebuked the disciples for being “of little faith,” we don’t read in the next verse that the disciples walked away pouting. (The rich young ruler did, but not the disciples.)

The disciples kept learning, kept following, and kept growing.

In those times when I recognize that my mind is on “human things,” Jesus is inviting me to keep learning, keep following, keep growing.



Lord, I am grateful that you are unwilling to leave me in a place of little faith. Sometimes you encourage, sometimes you rebuke, but you are always calling me to the deeper waters. I pray that you will reveal those things to which I have been clinging, but which in reality are keeping me from seeing the next steps I need to walk with you.


Mike Oldham

Ministry & Missions Coach

Northern Front Range and Southeastern New Mexico


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