In my experience we Christians tend to be pretty hard on Peter. When we read of his brief walk on water in Matthew 14, and remember how he sank when he realized how hard the wind was blowing, we shake our heads and say “There he goes again.” Easy for us to say when we’ve never ventured out of the boat.
In Matthew 16:13-28 Peter receives the blessing of Jesus when he correctly acknowledges Jesus’ messianic identity. Astonishingly, Peter then rebukes Jesus for speaking of going to the cross. How quickly Peter turns from hero to villain, from Jesus’ friend to his enemy! How quickly we will do the same if we depend on our own understanding rather than God’s revelation!
Lately I’ve been thinking about Mark, mainly because I just contributed a post on Mark for Credo magazine. After writing the post, it occurred to me that what I was seeing in Mark is a huge reason for thanksgiving. As you may have guessed, Mark has nothing to say about turkey and all the trimmings. In fact, although Mark directly mentions giving thanks only a few times, his story of Jesus gives us a profound reason for thanksgiving. In the USA the Thanksgiving holiday is November 28 this year, but Mark’s message gives us something to be thankful for every day of the year. God does not give up on flawed followers of Jesus, and neither should we.