'Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”'
--Matthew 16: 21-28
Calling Simon Peter ‘Satan’ may seem harsh, but in its literal form that’s exactly who we are when we get in the way of people living into their fullest selves and being the people God has called them to be. We become the accuser or the adversary whenever we insert ourselves into the mix and think we know what’s best for someone else, even someone we love. This is part of the journey of kenosis, of self-emptying, which Jesus invites the apostles on, but which they can’t accept until he has walked the road to the cross and shown them what it really looks like. May we have the grace to examine our hearts and the motivations and intentions behind those moments of protective love that we express. May we seek not to catch hold of or rebuke those who choose a path that may lead to some measure of pain, but support and encourage them and seek to better understand the journey God has called them on. Let us walk alongside them and love them from a place of encouragement, rather than our own self-motivated protection.