I wanted to share this with you. It's from the 6-10-09 blog entry of Kevin Deyoung, entitled "Who do you say that I am?" Deyoung notes that we all have a tendency to remake Jesus in our own image, then he gives us several examples, here are a few…
- There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
- There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
- There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
- There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
- There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that "all you need is love."
- There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
- There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
There are more, but you get the point. Everybody has an aspect of Jesus' personality that they tend to prefer over the others. The real challenge is to take Jesus as he is rather than try to make him into the Jesus that we want him to be.
We'll see that in this morning's passage. Peter tells Jesus that he's not really happy with Jesus' idea of what it means to be a Messiah. And that brings us to that famously stinging rebuke that Jesus has for Peter: "Get behind me, Satan…You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
And no wonder Peter says what he says. Jesus' idea of what the Messiah is supposed to do sounds crazy and difficult and, in the end, like a fool's errand. If I didn't already know how this story turns out, I would be on Peter's side.
I think that this morning's passage is one of the most difficult in all of scripture, because it runs counter to some of the most basic aspects of my own personality. It flies in the face of all conventional wisdom. And yet it is also the truest calling card of what it means to be a Christian.