And he began to teach them that it was inevitable that the Son of Man must go through much suffering and be utterly repudiated by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He told them all this quite bluntly. This made Peter draw him on one side and take him to task about what he had said. But Jesus turned and faced his disciples and rebuked Peter. “Out of my way, Satan!” he said. “Peter, you are not looking at things from God’s point of view, but from man’s!” Mark 8:31-33
Just prior to Peter’s rebuke of Jesus (can you imagine?!), he had been given a glorious revelation of the truth of who Jesus was. “You are the Christ (Messiah)!” he declared, and Jesus commended him, knowing it was revealed to him by God. By grace Peter received the revelation of Christ’s identity, but then added his own perspective of what that meant and ended up being rebuked by Jesus.
I wonder how many times I do the same. If I picture myself back in the days prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, I imagine myself horrified at the thought of Him being illegally and unjustly accused and sentenced to die. How could this be God’s will for our Messiah Savior to be killed at the hands of His created ones? It certainly cannot be God’s will! In my “righteous” outrage, would I have cut off a servant’s ear? I surely would have called together a prayer meeting to free Him from the hands of the enemy Romans and be vindicated and receive His rightful throne.
Yet in my zeal, I would have been praying against the very will of God!
I would have deserved Jesus’ rebuke for not looking for God’s interests, but my own.
“…must go through …”
To be honest, this sometimes hinders me from knowing how to pray. I know we have not if we ask not – but we are always to ask in accordance with the Name (and therefore nature and mission) of Jesus. Sometimes it feels presumptuous to know exactly what that means. I deeply desire to be aligned with His mission and will, and the holy awe of God keeps me from being mis-aligned. He has revealed Himself as Lion, but could this be a time He wants to reveal Himself as Lamb – since He is both? He has revealed Himself as Healer, but could this be a time He’s using to reveal Himself as Comforter and Teacher while in the trial – or maybe I look for Comforter and He desires to reveal Himself as Healer? If I look and expect Him to reveal Himself in one dimension, I will miss Him in another. Many of Jesus’ followers expected Him to reveal Himself as King over the enemy, Rome. Yet all the while He was destined to reveal Himself as King of Kings over the enemy Satan, and all rulers and principalities. His plan was to free not just one nation during one period of time, but all peoples in all nations for all time.
In order to rightfully claim His throne as King, He revealed Himself as the suffering Savior. On behalf of those who denied Him, betrayed Him, mocked and crucified Him. And looking centuries ahead from the Cross – also for your behalf. And mine. This brings wholehearted and grateful praise and thanks to my heart and lips.
So I approach His throne with faith and confidence, but also with humility and awareness that I hold a partial perspective and His is far fuller and transcends my own.
“Lord of all mystery, teach me to pray in accordance with Your will, Your mission, Your perspective. You have given me the mind of Christ. I pray You would “fill me with the knowledge of Your will in all the wisdom and understanding which the Spirit gives so that I may live a life worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to Him, being fruitful in every good work and multiplying in the full knowledge of God.” Broaden my mind and deepen my heart so that I am aligned according to Your truth. May every prayer I utter be Spirit-breathed.”