[Jesus] spoke plainly about [his suffering], and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.
Have you ever wanted something so badly—prayed for something passionately—only to discover later in life how thankful you ought to be that you didn’t get what you once wanted so desperately? So often, we have to thank God for “unanswered” prayers, requests that we’ve made to him, which he replied with a big, fat “no.”
Why doesn’t God give us everything that we want? Because he loves us too much, and he knows that what we want is not always what’s best for us in the long run.
That’s what our Savior wants for us most of all, the very best things that last forever. He’s not interested in our instant gratification that ultimately ends in ruin and destruction. What good does that do? He wants to give us his blessings and life that last eternally, even when we beg him for the opposite and rebuke him when he refuses.
When Jesus told his disciples about the suffering he must undergo as our perfect Savior, Peter begged him to stop talking that way. Indeed, Mark tells us, he “began to rebuke him.”
Don’t get Peter wrong. This wasn’t hateful, nor was it necessarily selfish. His intentions were sincere. He loved Jesus, and he wanted to prevent the horrible series of events that his master had just outlined for his future. So he prayed earnestly to Jesus, “Keep this from happening to you!” If Jesus wouldn’t prevent it, Peter would do his best to block him in love.
But Jesus resisted his dear disciple’s pleadings, even though he realized the prayer was offered in good faith. Why resist him? Because he knew that, even though granting Peter’s request would result in a much better outcome for himself, it would have doomed Peter and us to everlasting destruction.
But that’s not what Jesus wants. No, he “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What is that truth? Jesus loves you. He’s saved you completely. Your sin is forgiven. Heaven is yours. Believe it, it’s true.
Dear Jesus, thank you for doing all things to grant me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.