I love my new Pandora Station. What was once a station based around The Avett Brothers, by the great wisdom that is the Pandora algorithms I am currently listening to Bob Dylan sing "The Hurricane." Based on the story of Rubin Carter, and the racial tensions of the mid-1960s, Dylan's story-telling, sing-songy rendition of the song written by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Neil Diamon is amazing.
There is a line about midway through the song that struck me as I reflect on Matthew 16:21-28 for this Sunday.
"Put in a prison cell, but one time, he could-a been the champion of the world."
This line made me think of Peter. Peter so desperately wanted (needed?) Jesus do be the champion of the world. He wanted Jesus to overthrow the Romans. He wanted Jesus to reestablish God's reign in Jerusalem. He wanted Jesus to subvert the corrupt religious system of the day.
But Jesus told him that he was fixin' to be put in a prison cell.
And that wasn't OK with Peter. All the couldas and wouldas and shouldas start to race through Peter' mind, and he can't stand the thought of it. "God forbid it!" He says. "This can't, this won't happen, not if I can help it."
But it would happen. It had to. Like in the case of Rubin Carter, sometimes the cards are stacked against somebody. Like Jesus, sometimes, when you act a certain way, live a certain way, call people to account in a certain way, you end up on the wrong side of the executioner. It happens. It is unfortunate, but it happens. In the case of Jesus, of course, the unfortunate events of Good Friday will be transformed on Easter Day. But Peter couldn't hear that yet.