Devotions

The Confession of St. Peter

Today's Reading: Mark 8:27-9:1

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 40:1-4; 43:1-12; Romans 8:18-39

And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:29)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Peter properly says, "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:29). But because man is always trying to squash Jesus into his own scheme of things, Jesus "strictly charged them to tell no one about him" (Mark 8:30). Jesus would tell us about Himself and what it means for Him to be the Christ for us. And what a telling it is. "And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected. . . and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark 8:31).

Man thinks he can save himself. Jesus thinks man must get out of the way. "For whoever would save his life will lose it" (Mark 8:35). Man thinks he can give his own death in return for his life. Jesus responds, "What can a man give in return for his life?" (Mark 8:37) With his mind set "on the things of man" (Mark 8:33), what is Peter thinking? That a faith trusting its own work and merit is how best to follow Jesus? At the very least, Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34).

Nobody really wants to be ashamed of herself and her own righteousness. What we must all learn, however, is that such a cross, or such despair of self, is actually godly and wholesome. It frees us to abandon our confidence in ourselves and trust in Jesus alone. Not cheerleader Jesus. Dead Jesus. Risen Jesus. Not life-coach Jesus. Word Jesus. Water Jesus. Supper Jesus. The Jesus who takes the fruit and promise of His Cross and gives it to us as our own. Who would even bark, "Get behind Me, Satan!" to any voice trying to get in the way of His going to the Cross for us.

No, you are not the source of your confidence before God. Jesus is. The "FOR YOU" Jesus whom God sends for Peter and you. The beaten, dead, and risen Jesus. These are the things of God. And they are for Peter. And they are for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Heavenly Father, You revealed to the apostle Peter the blessed truth that Your Son Jesus is the Christ. Strengthen us by the proclamation of this truth that we too may joyfully confess that there is salvation in no one else; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Confession of St. Peter)