St. Peter was riding high. Jesus had just asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” While the rest of the disciples stumbled around in confusion, Peter hit a home run. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then, moments later, Jesus blesses him and entrusts him with the keys of his kingdom, giving him far more authority than he could imagine. Whatever you bind in heaven will be bound? Oh yes, Peter was feeling fine.
But then, as they continued their journey, Jesus began talking strangely, predicting his own suffering and death at the hands of the priests and Pharisees. The disciples were worried and puzzled—but Peter was downright upset. What was Jesus saying? He couldn’t mean it. He had just affirmed that he was the long awaited Messiah, the Son of God! Surely he was only moments away from ushering in a glorious earthly kingdom; a kingdom in which, he, Peter, son of Jonah, would occupy a very prestigious position. Jesus couldn’t mean it, and Peter felt he had to set him straight. “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
Then something happened that shook St. Peter to the core. Jesus, his meek and gentle master, turned to him with an angry fire in his eyes. “Get behind me, Satan!” he exclaimed. “You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” Peter was stunned, humiliated, and grief stricken. Had Jesus just called him…Satan?
But Jesus wasn’t finished. He turned to the rest of the disciples who were still reeling from this sudden zeal on the part of their Master. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” Jesus continued passionately. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses