Peter’s Blunder

Mark 8: 27-33
Jas 2: 1-9 / Ps 34: 2-7

… you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
(Mark 8:33)

How we always fail to discern
That our Lord’s plans are more sublime.
Why not trust that His main concern
Is our Life for eternal time?

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ (Mark 8: 27-33)


St. Mark gives us an insight into the human nature of St. Peter, whom he served as interpreter, and from whom he probably sourced much of the events in his Gospel. It is noteworthy that Mark’s Gospel does not include the words of Jesus exalting Peter, which we find in Matthew: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my heavenly Father”( Mt.16:17-19). A humble man, Peter did not include this when he related this event to Mark. But he did not leave out his blunder where he was rebuked by the Lord. In that momentous incident in the heights of Caesaria Philippi, the Holy Spirit came upon St. Peter, and he answered Jesus’ question perfectly: “You are the Messiah.” And yet, when Jesus started to lay out the Father’s plan for Him in the days ahead, St. Peter reverted to his human instincts, and refused to accept what seemed to him such a foolhardy course to take. The lesson in today’s Gospel tells us that we should be prudent in the words we speak, otherwise they can get us into trouble.

Other important lessons in today’s Gospel are: First, our human knowledge is inadequate to discern spiritual truth; only God’s indwelling Spirit can give that wisdom. Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn. 6:63) Second, we must put our full trust in God, no matter how unreasonable His terms may seem to be. We must strive for the faith of Abraham as our model. He obeyed God to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, even if he was already too old to sire another child.

Finally, who Jesus Christ is in our life will determine the kind of person that we want to become. If we accept Him as our life here and now, then He will be our ultimate destination. If we make Him the ideal of what we want to be, then His Divine Entity will occupy our minds and hearts, and will be the core of our being for all time.

Father God, you have given us a clear picture of Your purpose for us, which is to receive Jesus as our Savior. Through Your Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds have been illumined to receive His Truth, which has given our life its purpose. Amen.

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