Who Speaks for God?

fish arguing
Photo credit: Tomi Tapio

Mark 8:31-33

Instead, Jesus began to teach his students that the chosen one must suffer and be rejected by the rulers, the religious, and the bureaucrats, that he must be executed and three days later return to life. He said this was no secret.

Peter took Jesus aside and berated him, but Jesus turned his back on Peter and told the other students, “Get behind me, Satan. You don’t speak for God. In fact, you’re thinking is quite banal.”

Question: Who speaks for God?

Answer: Nobody. Period.

In fact, it’s a pretty sure bet that the more someone asserts that his or her words are “from God’s mouth to your ears” the more banal and insipid the content of what they say.

Peter wants to take any shortcut to success he can find. Life doesn’t work that way.

In 2007, Seth Godin wrote a wonderful little book called The Dip about how in every endeavor there is a low point you have to pass through before you can soar. More recently, in an interview, he said of success:

There aren’t shortcuts.
Merely direct paths.
Most people don’t take them, because they frighten us.
Things that look like shortcuts are usually detours disguised as less work.

Jesus is openly realistic about what he faces.
Peter is afraid.

Jesus acts out of who he knows he is and what he is called to do.
Peter chafes at the thought of suffering, let alone giving one’s life over to a great endeavor.

Even now, as Jesus offers his vision and is berated for it, he turns away, giving his friend the opportunity to betray him, to stab him in the back. It’s a foreshadowing of the very rejection he was talking about a moment before.

Nobody speaks for God. And yet it is quite possible for anyone to live truly. Even to change the world. Anyone can be the chosen one. Maybe you. Provided you’re willing to suffer, to endure the rejection of the whose who list and even your closest friends, and to give your life over to something greater than yourself.

There are no shortcuts. But the reward really is life.
So, what are you afraid of?