Mark 8: 31-33: Trusting Jesus’ Plan Over Ours

In the second part of this passage, we learn about the importance of trusting in Jesus’ plans over our own plans.

When Jesus asked his disciples and others what they think of him, he already know what they were thinking. He was very familiar with the popular beliefs at the time that a Messiah would come. And while this is true, Jesus clearly knows that it didn’t occur to the disciples that the “Messiah” they refer to must suffer as the Messiah. And this is a very important point to remember.

As Christians here today, we know that in order for us to be saved from our sins, Jesus must take our place and suffer in the form of rejection and ultimately death. This is very important as there is no alternative way to be saved.

In v31, Jesus mentioned, “that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again”.

To understand how important this point is, we need to consider the language that Jesus used to communicate his point. Until this stage, we are used to Jesus teaching in the form of parables however this time, he says it as it is. As it says in v32 “he spoke plainly” with the intention to really drive this point home to the disciples.

Given how clear this message is you would have thought that this would have helped ease the disciple’s anxiety about the situation now that they are beginning to understand what is going on. Well, the truth is that this response doesn’t settle well with Peter as we read v32 “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”.

As we read this it’s tempting to think that maybe he [Peter] was expecting more. It’s almost like his response wasn’t good enough for him. It is clear that Peter doesn’t see the full picture as the message of the cross wasn’t satisfactory.

Without knowing the full picture, we too can be quick to assume that God’s plans simply aren’t playing up to the way we originally hoped for. This is especially true considering we may not know what is going on. I’m sure we can think of many situations where we haven’t seen the plan in full. Maybe we have been left in a difficult situation where all we can see is uncertainty and the unknown. We need to trust in Jesus as He is fully aware of the plan.

Having seen how Peter responded to Jesus, how does he respond to all this in return. Well, we learn from v33 that he publicly rebukes him. As he is rebuking him, there was no holding back. He comes straight out and says “Get behind me, Satan!”

It’s tempting to think that this might have been a bit of an overreaction but what Jesus is doing here is very important. We learn, later on, that this most certainly is not an overreaction as it is a matter of life and death, hope or no hope, salvation or no salvation.

Instead, what we see here is Jesus pointing out the elephant in the room. He does so by saying in v33 that “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns”. In other words, they are not seeing things properly and they haven’t got their priories right!

The difference with the rebuke Jesus gave, was that this was done out of love. He wanted the very best out of them.

And while it is easy for us to look at these disciples and criticise them for what they have done and said, we too can fall victims to this way of thing by getting distracted. It’s tempting to get things to happen on our own terms. We want things to happen the way we want them to happen.