“From that time on, 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.’” (Matthew 16:21-23) “What a difference a day makes…” goes the old jazz standard or in this case, what a difference five verses make! Peter quickly goes from the rock who recognizes the true identity of Jesus (in last Sunday’s lesson) to the stumbling-block who is getting in the way of our Lord who is on the move to Jerusalem. Talk about a reversal of fortune! I have sought to follow Jesus for well over 40 years. During that time, I cannot recall an instance in which I intentionally and willfully opposed him. But having said that, I must quickly admit that I have had my own ideas about the direction in which he ought to lead me. I have sought to nuance his plans; taking small steps along a slightly different path that surely couldn’t make that much difference from the way in which he was walking. But it never ends well for me when I try to go my own way or seek to convince him to go my way. How about you? Those are harsh words for Peter (“Satan” yikes!) but there is also an invitation: “get behind me!” Return to the place of a disciple; you are first called to follow and not to lead. Jesus loves Peter and the rest of us perfectly. So that means that every admonition is also an invitation to return to him. I am convinced that our Lord never dismisses us, he only invites us to return to him in the way in which will work: as followers first, and planners or leaders only later. And what we find when we return to the place of following is a Savior who is still willing to lead us. We discover again a gracious Lord who has power to incorporate all of our false starts and all of our missteps into a life of joyful service that participates in his transformation of our broken world. Have a great week!