In today’s gospel (Thursday, February 17, 2011 – Sixth Week in Ordinary Time) Jesus asks him disciples two questions.
First, he asks them, “Who do people say that I am?” A nice beginning question, no pressure, simply asks factually what are other people saying. The disciples respond, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” Not bad. It indicates, at the very least, that the people are beginning to recognize Jesus as someone very special. They still have a lot to learn but perhaps a solid start.
Then comes the next question, “But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks his disciples what they think. So far, he has been having to explain his parables to his disciples. Have they learned anything yet?
Peter gives the response, “You are the Christ.” At last Peter has got it! Yes, Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the one they have been waiting for! Give Peter an “A” on the pop quiz.
Then Jesus goes on to tell them what is to come; that he will suffer and be killed. Actually, he doesn’t say these things will happen to him. Rather he says it will happen to the Son of Man but Peter realizes Jesus is talking about himself. But then Peter blows it. He can’t understand why these things would ever happen to Jesus. Peter thinks none of these things would ever happen to Jesus as the Messiah. Peter’s lack of understanding may be reasonable. Why would one think the Messiah would be killed? They thought the coming Messiah would be a great political king so how could he be defeated.
So, Peter responds by rebuking Jesus. Peter has just said Jesus is the Messiah and now Peter is telling Jesus how things should happen. Why would Peter think he could tell Jesus the way it should be?
Seems ridiculous but we might ask ourselves are we any different? We believe in Jesus. Do we do things Jesus’ way or do we do it our way?