Just think for a moment about a different scenario. Pretend that your father is at a very advanced stage of cancer, and only has a day or two to live. You go to visit him, wagging your finger in his face and telling him that everyone is wrong about that terminal diagnosis; he surely will not die from cancer, so he’d better stop thinking about such nonsense. I suspect that if the man in bed had the strength to do it, he would just roll his eyeballs and wonder what kind of a child he had raised!
Now look at today’s scenario. Jesus has just told the apostles that he would be killed when they got to Jerusalem, but would be raised from the dead. Picture the apostle Peter taking Jesus aside, wagging his finger in his face in a very scolding, reprimanding way [that is what the word “rebuke” means], and telling him that he has to stop talking such nonsense. After all, it doesn’t fit the “victorious warrior” image that applies to the Messiah. Jesus didn’t lose a heartbeat. He immediately told Peter to get out of his way; Peter was acting like a “Satan,” an obstacle in his path.
Peter just didn’t “get it.” To be Messiah did not mean to receive power and glory in the political or military sense expected by us humans. Rather, Jesus came to teach us that Messiahship means self-sacrifice and self-giving. If that is true for the Messiah, then it’s also true for his followers! Peter, along with you and I have to rethink what it means to be a true Disciple. There’s no room for seeking honour and glory; there is only room for self-sacrificing love. Your home and your workplace are the testing grounds to prove your ability to effectively use that weapon of love.
However, Peter’s scorn for Jesus’ prediction would soon change to recognition of the need to “deny self” and follow Jesus, even with our crosses. This actually makes us “partners” in this redemptive mystery.