Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Get Behind Me, and Follow Me
Jesus said to Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:23-24)
In front of Jesus is the wrong place to be. Likewise beside him.
You are not supposed to be leading Jesus. Nor are you his partner, walking side-by-side through all of life.
You don't tell Jesus what to do, how to act, where to go. You don't tell Jesus how to save the world, nor how to bring that salvation to the world today.
But this is what we all want to do. "Jesus, the church would grow if you stopped being so stubborn, if you overlooked sins rather than forgiving them, if you stopped being so exclusive, if you would just listen. Let me help you!"
But Jesus does not want your advice. He does not really want your help either. He certainly does not need them.
Jesus is the leader. We are the followers. He the Shepherd, we the sheep. He speaks. We listen.
Jesus came to give life to the dead, to lead a host from the gates of Hades into the land of the living. He did not come for endless bureaucratic debate in a church council meeting.
Jesus gives life where, when, and how he pleases. We have nothing to say about it. That is not our place.
Our place is behind Jesus, following him through the gates of death, being dragged along by the sheer force of his life-giving charisma. Our place is to trust that the same means used to save us, the Word of Christ, Law and Gospel, will be the means he uses to save countless others.
To try and stand in front of Jesus, to attempt to lead him or even to advise him, is simply satanic.
We listen. We follow. We live.