, , , , , , ,

jesus carries

St Matthew 16:21-27

Chrysostom points out that Peter uses human reasoning and understanding to question the will of God; his reasoning is carnal, it is the same reasoning Adam and eve used in the Garden of Eden; it is of Satan. Just as John had hesitated to baptise Jesus, so Peter, also reasoning as men reason, misses the will of God. Jesus does the will of God. Origen remarks that now the Apostles knew the identity of Jesus, they have to begin to face up to the destiny that He will soon face; this they find hard. Peter is, Chrysostom says, overwhelmed and confused; he had learned the truth of the identity of Jesus, but not yet the truth of the Cross. He does not know that the Son of Man must suffer for many, or that the way of the disciple is also to take up the Cross of suffering. The gain of wheat must fall into the earth and doe before it is fruitful; so too must the new man in Christ suffer – and he must do so willingly. Only those willing to lose this earthly life will gain the reward of life eternal. Origen remarks that it is the way of men in this world to cling on to life and to try to avoid suffering, and it is thus that Peter reasons.

St Cyril of Alexandria says it is not surprising that the disciples, so recently enlightened as to the identity of the Lord, should still be confused about what he says. They still expect the Messiah to come to redeem captive Israel, and they are not expecting the Suffering Servant. It is only in the Second Coming that He will come in glory to judge both the living and the dead. The glory of the Father is that of the Son, for they are of one substance. Peter, like all Christians, should look to the life to come, for we are not bound by the chains of death, we have new life in Christ. All that was lost will be renewed, aye, and with profit, and though we are dead, we shall live, and death shall have no dominion, for the Lord is Risen. But first He must pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and He who is without sin must give His life for the sake of sinners. It was for that that he came into the world. It is the way of men to turn aside from suffering to preserve their life in this world, but down that wide road lies only destruction. Only in obedience to the will of God can the Christian triumph; only in the Cross of Christ can life be found; only in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit can we persevere in this life, which is but the preparation for life eternal.