To interrupt is “to stop (a person) in the midst of doing or saying something, especially by an interjected remark.” Interruptions can be quite frustrating – especially when someone is interrupted by another person who wasn’t really listening in the first place or was simply missing the point.
During the time Jesus spent with his followers, there came a point in time when he began telling them more directly about the rejection and suffering he would face. One of his followers – a guy named Peter – was known for sometimes hitting the mark and sometimes missing the mark. He was a pretty impulsive guy who could be known to speak his mind, sometimes even before thinking through what he was going to say. He’d even interrupt at times.
One of the times he missed the mark because he spoke without listening or understanding was the first time Jesus spoke directly and unmistakably about his death. Peter actually interrupted to reprimand and rebuke Jesus for what he was saying. The conversation that took place with Jesus, Peter and the rest of the followers was the focus of part 4 (Gain or Loss) in CCC’s Hit & Miss series.
As a next step, take a few minutes to read Matthew 16:21-28 and the dig into the following questions about what it means to follow Jesus.
- Tell of a time when you spoke before you thought. What did you learn?
- Tell of a time when you didn’t listen completely before speaking? What did you learn?
- How might you have felt if you were one of Jesus’ followers who heard him talk about having to suffer many things?
- What might Peter have meant by “This will never happen to you”?
- How do you feel about Peter “reprimanding” or “rebuking” Jesus for what he said?
- Why did Jesus refer to Peter as an “adversary” (which is the original word translated “Satan”)?
- In what ways did Peter’s preference stand in the way of what Jesus set out to accomplish? What are some preferences you hold that might do the same thing?
- Why is it so easy to see things from a human point of view? Why is it so challenging to see things from God’s point of view?
- What does it mean to “turn from your selfish ways”? What are selfish ways you need to turn from?
- What does it mean to “take up your cross”? What are some “sufferings” you perceive followers of Jesus experience?
- What next steps will you take to gain perspective about following Jesus?
Peter’s human viewpoint kept him from seeing the big picture of God’s plan, why Jesus came down here from up there, and what Jesus would have to go through to accomplish what was needed to be done. It’s interesting because Peter wasn’t really defying Jesus so much as he was attempting to defend him. In many ways, it was a good thing Peter was trying to do.
But the good he was trying to do was from a human point of view. Peter spoke and thought before he finished listening – and very often that’s the same thing people today do as well. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in formulating a response to something being done or said that we fail to listen completely.
Peter got so wrapped up formulating his response that it appears he heard Jesus mention his death but not the resurrection. Peter heard what he perceived as bad news and missed the hope of the good news in the process.
Jesus’ initial invitation to them was, “Follow me!” and they had left everything to follow him. In the conversation, Jesus would go on tell Peter and the rest of the followers what following him truly required. It would not be a journey for the faint of heart – it would involve suffering and rejection similar to the example Jesus set. The question that remained for those followers is whether they would continue to follow.
The same invitation is extended to people today – and the questions are the same. Will they follow? Will they continue to follow? One of the questions Jesus asked in this conversation is, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” It’s a great question!
Today is Monday – make it a day that you get an accurate viewpoint about following Jesus!