It's one of those passages where Jesus seems like he woke up in a bad mood -- but the Rev. Canon Leonard Hamlin said Jesus' rebuke to Peter is really just an invitation to trust and to follow.

In his sermon yesterday, Canon Hamlin reflects on the passage from Mark 8:31-38, where Peter questions Jesus about his pending suffering, and Jesus rebukes him:

“Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”


Jesus goes on to talk about taking up your cross, losing your life, a sinful generation and Jesus being ashamed of his faithless followers. It’s pretty tough medicine. But as Canon Hamlin sees it, it’s really about Jesus’ disciples — and us — being at a crossroads:

“That’s the problem with many of us often in times, is that we try to tell God how to work and don’t really know how God is already at work. It is in this moment we can see Jesus and his disciples standing at the crossroads. It is not the first time that they have been in a crossroad moment. It is not the first time where they’ve had to make a decision about going left or right forward or backwards. It is not the first time that they’ve had to make a choice about what direction they would go.

But in this instance, the disciples are wavering. The disciples are wondering about what to believe and which path to take. They were struggling with the fear that they had about their future and they were fighting the temptation to embrace what I call an inward-outlook of limited possibilities and self preservation. Rather than choosing to embrace a faith-filled inward-outlook fortified with miraculous possibilities, it is in this moment a choice had to be made and a real decision was needed.”

And then this:

“We’re living in a crossroad moment. A decision has to be made. Choices are being made in this Lenten season. Every day. We are at an important point and stage in even our own development individually and communally where we must make a decision. If we don’t mind being transparently honest for just a moment, we are living in it such a known and observable crossroad moment …  feeling the difficulty of living life at the crossroads, the burden of making decisions, the weight of meeting, unexpected difficulties of responding to stress-filled moments and reports day after day.

Perhaps as you think about where we are in time and space, we’re wavering, we’re wondering about what the future would hold. All of this is taking place, not just within us, but around us. … It is in this Lenten season as individuals, we are making daily choices that will reveal if we truly are committed followers of Jesus Christ. These decisions will reveal what road we decide to travel and our personal choices and decisions will either strengthen the crowd that is around us, the families who are connected to us, or it will cause them to wave or to wonder. Even those who are sitting by you around you are looking to see how confident you are, what faith you are operating in, and your faith will cause those around you to either stand firm in a moment like this or to waver and wonder about the future.”


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

  • worship