Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan! You do not have your mind set on the things of God, but the things of men." Mark 8:33 (EHV)
Why God? A stillborn child. A natural disaster. A random act of violence. Rejection of Jesus by so many. Our thoughts and emotions cry out: Why God?!
Peter also struggled to understand. Why was Jesus going to suffer many things and be killed? He was the Christ, God's anointed One, appointed by the Father for the work of salvation. Wouldn't he win the victory and bring life? Why this talk of death? Humanly speaking, what Jesus said didn't make sense.
We have to remember that Peter was not an unbeliever. He was not looking to willfully reject God's truth. In fact, earlier he had made a marvelous confession. Going against popular opinion, he confessed that Jesus was not just a great prophet but, “You are the Christ.”
How could Peter make such a great confession? It wasn’t from his great human wisdom, rather through the prophecies of Scripture and the words of Jesus that the Father had revealed it to him. But now as Jesus explained that he would fulfill the Scriptures through his death and resurrection, Peter didn’t hold his heart and mind captive to the Word of God. Rather, he evaluated Jesus' words according to his own sinful reason. He even tried to talk Jesus out of it.
Many people today wrestle with this same difficult question, “Why did Jesus have to die and rise?” God in the Bible gives us a simple answer: Jesus died because of our sins and rose to show God’s plan was complete. Yet we still ask, "Why? Couldn't he have saved us some other way?" But here we must silence our questioning. We dare not go beyond what God has revealed in the Scriptures.
This same thought applies to many of our “why” questions. We search the Scriptures for what our heavenly Father has revealed. His answers may not satisfy our sense of logic, fairness, love, or justice, but we must not go beyond God’s written Word. We must not judge God and his ways by human standards.
Rather, faith follows our Savior, denying our heart and mind's attempts to rationalize or justify God's ways. We follow our Savior, holding our heart and mind captive to his Word, no matter what the cost or cross. In the end it is good for us to remember how much higher God’s ways are than ours. Listen as God talks about his ways and his thoughts, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
May the Holy Spirit fill our hearts with the strength to trust that God’s ways are always perfect and forgive us for the many times we have thought that our plans were better than God’s perfect plans.
— Pastor Gartner
Adult Bible Class:
Everyone is invited to join us for our new Bible Classes that have started. Pastor Frey is leading the Sunday morning class on Prayer. Pastor Gartner is leading the Monday morning class at 8:00am and Tuesday night at 5:30pm on the book of Ephesians. May the Lord lead all of us to grow in our faith through the use of these Bible class opportunities.
This is the final week for getting your pictures taken for the new church pictorial directory. The link to register and sign-up for a time is below. There are only a few slots left for pictures -- so please sign up soon.
Christian Giving Counselor
On Sunday, September 23 and Monday, September 24 Pastor Dennis Kleist, a WELS Christian Giving Counselor, will be preaching here and giving a presentation. The presentation will be given during our Bible Study time between services and after our worship service Monday evening. This presentation will focus on forming a Christian estate plan, ways to reduce taxes while supporting St. John, the Synod, and WELS ministries, information regarding charitable gift annuities and much more—in other words, how we can best use the monetary gifts God has given us to his glory. He’ll also be available to set up free in-home visits.