If we put last Sunday’s Gospel together with today’s Gospel (which is very reasonable to do since today’s verses immediately follow last week’s), we see that we have quite a conversation going on between Jesus and Peter. Within the same conversation Jesus first says the following to Peter: "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,” but then later He says: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."   We know of course, that the first statement was made after Peter had correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah, and that the second was made after Peter expressed his dismay at the thought of Jesus being crucified, so Jesus words are understandable.  However, I think there is something else going on here as well.  Jesus is being a true friend to Peter.  He affirms him when Peter makes a correct choice, but lovingly scolds him when he begins to head in the wrong direction.  That is what friends do.  Jesus loves Peter and He loves us too much to do anything but to tell us the truth with love.  Do we do this? With Jesus?  With our friends?   Are we totally honest with Jesus when we pray to Him?  Do we try to have a real heart to heart conversation?  Are we totally honest with our friends when we know they are going down a destructive path or do we shy away from saying the hard things?  Being a true friend means truly loving our friend, it means risking our friend’s love for us in order to demonstrate our love for him/her.  That’s what Jesus did in this conversation with Peter.  That’s what Jesus does for us.  The best way for us to thank Jesus for His friendship to us is by being totally honest with Him in our prayer, and by being a true friend to those He gives to us.



AuthorCathy Remick