Mark 8:34-37 Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? The Message Bible)
If you read this passage in any other translation, it becomes clear that Peterson is doing a lot of interpretation in the Message concerning Jesus’ words. But that is what we do all the time with the Bible, make these words from long ago the Word coming to us today. So, he writes, “You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.” Jesus’ disciples had been looking for a leader. Someone to drive the car, so to speak. Now that driver was saying that they weren’t going exactly where they thought when they got in the car. They could have jumped out at the next light. They actually did for a short time around the trial and crucifixion. But eventually they saw that Jesus was taking them where he promised. You probably don’t know all that will happen to you in the future. The folks that went to the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning 20 years ago anticipated another normal day. It was not to be. In the end, we all realize that we are not in the driver’s seat, at least not all the time. So, who is then?