Dynamics of power to dynamics of love

Journey of Peter’s Profession of faith.

arun simon
3 min readSep 12, 2021

Sunday gospel in the Catholic Church (latin rite) had the famous passage, where Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” And there is the most famous reply of Peter, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus definitely appreciates Peter, but appreciation of Jesus shouldn’t make us go overboard. A few lines later, Jesus calls him Satan or precisely “Get behind me Satan”.

Peter made one of the biggest confessions of faith…. he understood (spoke about) the true identity of Jesus. So in aspects of faith (if an exam is conducted), he would have got 100 marks. But the gospels attest that Peter (atleast till the death and resurrection) didn’t understand the meaning of the word “Christ”. So Peter, who made one of the biggest professions of faith, didn’t understand the identity of Jesus completely.

Let’s go through some of the events in the gospel. When a woman caught in the act of adultery (where is the man, is a question which doesn’t have any answer) was brought to Jesus, Jesus sees an identity (or the real identity) of her, which was not seen by any of those men who came to stone her. When the second son returned home after wasting the entire money, the way of father seeing his younger son was very different from that of the elder son. The same story continues for the way Jesus sees many of the tax collectors or sinners; or in the way, he sees a widow who put a small offering in the church. The way good samaritan saw the injured Jew was much different from that of the priest and the levite.

Coming back to Peter — his speeches after the resurrection in the Bible may not have an official record of Peter responding in similar fashion to Jesus (that he is the Christ…. though he tells the crowd that Jesus is the Christ and son of God); he understood the “real meaning of Christ”. He could see Jesus in the way Jesus saw people during his life time. Now what created the difference? No doubt, it is the death and the resurrection of Jesus.

To put it more bluntly, he moved from a dynamics of power to a dynamics of love. In the dynamics of power, Christ won’t (and can’t) suffer; Christ has to establish the kingdom of David; Christ will solve all the problems of the world immediately; and so on. In the dynamics of love, Jesus suffered. The ways of disciples (or their plans) don’t work always; they have a God who accompanies them even in their suffering; they have a God who encourages them to hope, to fight for justice etc; they have a God who loves; who respects human freedom; who doesn’t think that power should be the way to bring peace.

Some critics of Christianity would say that Christianity (or many of the Christians) forgot the way Jesus opted in his incarnation; a way of love instead of way of power. This is the radicality of Jesus, which is most difficult to follow.

Sometimes, we Christians can make big professions of faith. But if that profession of faith is still in the dynamics of power and not in the dynamics of love (some might say, it is often the case), our professions of faith might be immediately followed by a comment by Jesus, “Get behind me, Satan”….



arun simon

A Jesuit with all the crazyness… Loves Jesus…Loves church, but loves to challenge too… Loves post modern philosophy & Gilles Deleuze.. Loves deep conversations…