No one likes to surrender. We see surrender as giving up and giving in. We hate the idea of losing and letting go of control so we resist surrendering with all that we are. God, however, wants us to surrender. He wants us to waive the white flag, raise our hands, and surrender ourselves to Him. When we surrender to God it is the best thing that we can do. Giving up control and trusting Him to lead us will lead to life, protection, and peace. In this case it is resisting surrender and keeping control for ourselves that is dangerous.
Mark 8 is a transition in Jesus’ ministry. Mark writes that at this point Jesus began to speak clearly about His coming death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus chose this crucial moment to openly reveal to His disciples His plan to restore us to our God through His sacrificial death. This scene comes just a short while after Peter’s great confession, “You are the Christ.” (Verse 29)
While the words were still swirling in the disciples’ heads Jesus takes the time to let them in on the plan. Their world was shattered. He wasn’t going to be a physical savior who would rescue them from the Romans, instead He had come to be a spiritual Savior who would rescue them from sin and restore them to God. Not with a fight or political takeover, but with His death.
Just moments after saying something really smart, Peter says something really… not smart. Isn’t that just like us? We could easily fit in Peter’s sandals here recognizing that Jesus is Lord one moment and then refusing to follow His will the next. What was the problem? Jesus’ plan didn’t line up with Peter’s. Peter, along with the other disciples and probably every other Jew, was looking for a Messiah who would save them from the Romans. We have different reasons behind it, but the underlying problem that Peter had then and that we have now is the same: conflicting wills. Peter found his crossroads.
Then, just like now, God is not obligated to give us what we want and His will for us is not influenced by our desires. The question is, then, how do we respond when God’s will differs from ours? Mary had a different kind of reaction when she came to her crossroads. She had her life planned out. Her fiancé had his own business and was getting their future home ready. Within a year they would be married, and life would be wonderful, or so she thought. All those plans were shattered the night the Angel visited.
His message was simple, but life changing. She was chosen by God and a very special baby was on the way. This was a huge problem because she wasn’t married yet, and Joseph could have chosen to break things off with her or have her stoned. The life she planned was gone, but her response was one of great faith and courage.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Some choose to resist God, Mary chose to follow Him, and Peter… well Peter told the Lord of the universe that He was wrong. He pulled Him aside and attempted to tell Him the problem with His plan. Peter meant well, but was still wrong. Next time we’ll look at Jesus’ response to him.