Today’s “pericope” aka “gospel snippet”:
Obviously quite the revelation for Peter and company, but for us, a bit old hat. Almost a blah blah moment. “Yep, that was the plan, and nope, they didn’t get it, and yep there’s Peter sticking his foot in his mouth demonstrating just how badly he was missing it.”
And it stopped me dead in my tracks with another aha moment as I sputtered on my own foot.
The conviction has been growing in me of late that we have more here than just the “plan of redemption” by which Jesus does what we cannot do, performing a divine transaction, the payment for our sins that gets us off the hook eternally.
But moving through this story of stories, I’ve been glimpsing more.
What if we have more here than the record of what he did so that we don’t have to;
What if we have here, in Christ, the paradigmatic experience for each of us as “son of man” aka “human being”?
What if instead of getting us off the hook, this actually puts us all on it?
What if instead of making it so we don’t have to suffer, Jesus is showing us how?
“It is necessary (a binding imperative, not a choice, this has to be) the son of man (homo sapiens, human being) many things (fill in your own blanks; take your time) to suffer (passionate experience of pain) and to be rejected (see definition of “suffer”) by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes (all the people most of us spend a lifetime trying to placate and please; notice the “ands” we typically leave out of our translations as redundant and how they create a glorious “piling on” effect) and to be killed (and no, this won’t be quick or painless) and after three days (wait for it) to arise (talk about a key verb!).
Let’s make sure we have this straight.
Our road, the road we must travel:
Welcome to humanity!
And now we all play Peter. We graffiti over the first ¾ of the path with scribbled verses of promises and joy and peace and happiness, skipping right down to the bottom of our imagined divine vending machine into which Jesus has already deposited the three coins of suffering, rejection, and death, to collect our nice little life. Which, sooner or later, will leave us kicking the divine machine, then rebuking it, then, if we hang around long enough, finding ourselves rebuked by it.
Look at your reflection in the glass. Enemy. Insisting it not be so.
How slow to truly savour the Divine!
As I have done, so you must do.
I have given you a ὑπογραμμός (who-poe-gram-mose – 1 Peter 2:21) an underwriting, a model of all the letters of life, A to Z, so you may truly learn to write; an example, a map, a path so that step by often excruciating step you may truly learn to walk.
Thank you, but we’re only interested in the destination. Can’t we just go to there and imagine that you did all the hard stuff of suffering, rejection, and death for us so we don’t have to?