In this Sunday’s gospel the disciple Peter hit the nail on the head and then missed the nail completely. Peter finally “got it” and then “lost it” in the next breath. When Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” The other disciples told Jesus what the people around were saying, John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. But Peter deep down knew who Jesus was, he had walked the closest to Jesus once he was called. Peter knew that Jesus was far greater than any prophet of old. So, Peter proclaims, Jesus “you are the Messiah!” Peter was the first to proclaim it, the first to say it out loud, the first to feel it deep in his soul. And because of that Jesus tells Peter that he will be the rock on which His Church will be built.
But Peter is also human like you and me. Even though Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah, he still dreamed of Jesus ascending to the throne in Israel. So, when Jesus started talking about how He was going to be betrayed and killed and then rise on the third day, Peter couldn’t take it. That was not Peter’s picture of what the Messiah was to become. The Messiah wasn’t supposed to die. Peter didn’t understand the “rise in three days” part. So, Peter takes Jesus aside and quietly corrects Him. But Peter is offering Jesus a way out. Peter is saying “You don’t have to do it that way, you can become the Earthly King because you have power over everything.” So, Jesus tell Peter to stop and stop tempting Him like Satan did in the wilderness. Jesus knew from the start that in order to free the world from sin, He must be the sacrificial lamb. Jesus knew that the only way to save humanity was to die for it. Jesus knew that He must continue to walk the path that His Father in Heaven set for Him.
We each have a path laid out for us. I believe God gives us free will many times in our lives to choose which way we will go when we come