Have you ever noticed how distractions can be so subtle? One minute you are focused on the task at hand, and the next you’re so far off course you can no longer see the road.
Was there ever a temptation for Jesus to lose focus? I’m sure there was. But despite the potential of distraction, in Scripture it appears that He never allowed Himself to be misdirected.
In Mark 8, we read of many things Jesus did. He multiplied the loaves and fishes, disputed with the Pharisees, healed a blind man, spoke of His death and resurrection, and challenged His disciples to deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. What a ministry! It is very clear that Jesus was about His Father’s business.
In the midst of this powerful ministry, we read an interesting dialogue between Jesus and Peter. Jesus tells His disciples of His death and resurrection; Peter then takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke Him. That’s when something interesting takes place.
“But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter” (v. 33, NKJV). It is interesting to me that Jesus, in the middle of Peter’s rebuke, turns and looks at His disciples, and then turns and rebukes Peter.
What did Peter say? The Scripture doesn’t tell us, but Jesus’ rebuke of Peter was strong: ” ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’ “
I believe there is a lesson to be learned from this. Being in the ministry, it is easy to find ourselves in situations where our ministry is flourishing and we are pushing forward—but then comes a distraction, something that can take our minds off the things of God and put our focus on the things of men.
Jesus looks back at His disciples, as if, in doing so, He saw all the people of the world that He would be going to the cross for—as if, in doing so, He was reminded of the mission He was on the earth for. Jesus then looks back at Peter and rebukes him.
Jesus didn’t allow Peter’s rebuke to deter Him from His mission. Instead, He refocused and pushed forward, going on to challenge His disciples to follow Him even unto death!
What does it take to have this type of focus?
- An intimate and devoted relationship with the Father. Jesus demonstrated this many times throughout His life on the earth, but one specific time was at the tender age of 12, when He stated those well-known words: ” ‘I must be about My Father’s business’ ” (see Luke 2:49).
- Discernment: Jesus easily could have taken Peter’s words to heart and allowed Himself to get off course. Instead, He discerned that Peter was not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men, and rebuked Satan.
- A heart for people: “Jesus turned and looked at His disciples.” What did He see? What was He thinking? We don’t know for sure, but whatever happened in that moment caused Him to turn and rebuke the enemy’s attempt to detour Him!
This is the type of focus we are called to have. We are to put our hands to the plow and never look back, staying focused on the call of the Lord on our lives. I challenge you to ask yourself this week: “Where is my focus?”
By: Marcus Ellington, NextGen coordinator for the Southwest District