Mark 8:32

He said all this quite openly. But Peter took Jesus aside, and began to rebuke him.


clarity builds resistance
we now see
there is no exit
but through beloved birth
into test after test

when we can no longer evade
the consequences of life
an easy accommodation escapes
our gifts and grasp
enacted sadness rises

messengers of changed hearts
are blamable for our caughtness
between our past avoidance
and tomorrow’s glowing hope
which leaves us not alone

we dodge quietly as we can
until finally we noisily rail
against our pre-dawn cold
unable to let go
too panicked to grab hold


“Peter was not specifically commanding Jesus to quit talking in this way, so much as condemning his thinking and planning such a course of action as would lead to this result. If this meaning can be conveyed by a rendering such as ‘said to him, Don’t talk this way’, a relatively close equivalent of the Greek will have been found.” ~Bratcher264.

Here we have a direct denial of the consequence of prophetic action by those first called to carry a message of good repentance. To Jesus’ “Yes!”, comes Peter’s “No!”

In the next two teachings that repeat this understanding of the way the real world acts, there will follow ironic acts by the Twelve that directly contradict the message being given.

In all three occurrences, we find a pattern that indicates Mark is writing to his readers, not transcribing history. Malbon’s chapter on “Narrative Criticism” in Anderson40 notes, “After each misunderstanding, Jesus renews his teaching on this topic. Of course, each time Jesus teaches the disciples, the implied author teaches the implied reader. Repetition adds clarity and force.” Likewise, Fowler’s chapter of “Reader-Response Criticism” [Anderson69] puts it this way, “No one in the story seems to learn anything from these predictions. The reader, by contrast, cannot help but be educated by these signposts to future moments in the narrative.”

Together we are pushed to take a deep breath and consider what would need to change in our life and context that would lead us to humbly and forthrightly affirm Jesus’ analysis for ourself.

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