Monday, October 2, 2017

Get Behind Me

Get Behind Me
October 2, 2017
Matthew 16:23 "Jesus turned and said to Peter, '"Get behind me, Satan!'

Jesus called Peter a bad name; He called him Satan. Peter and Jesus had many famous conversations; usually with Peter arguing with the Lord. On one night the two had a dynamic exchange in which Jesus suggested Peter was either being controlled by Satan or possessed by Satan or was Satan, himself. Peter was trying to convince Jesus that the idea of Jesus being put to death should and would not happen. Of course Jesus knew it had to happen, but Peter thought surely there would be a way for Jesus to escape death, to which Jesus replied, "Get behind me, Satan." These seemingly aggressive words were actually directed at Peter, not Satan. Yes, Jesus was calling Peter, Satan, sort of.

The quote must be reviewed in full context. Just prior to the harsh discourse, Jesus asked the disciples if they truly knew who He was. Peter answered that He was the Christ. Jesus was thrilled with Peter's answer because it had not yet been revealed that Jesus was the Christ. Peter was the first to figure it out, the real identity of Jesus. Jesus was proud of Peter's personal revelation; it showed he was paying attention and was sensitive to the Lord's work.  Peter declared that Jesus was the Savior, and Jesus was impressed, commending that Peter was truly a critical man in the Lord's plan. Then Jesus went on to explain as the Christ, He had to suffer and die, to fulfill all that was written about Him.  This is where Peter argued and suggested there was another way. Then Jesus got slightly aggressive, and called him Satan. I bet Peter was shocked.

The word that Jesus called Peter was not actually the same name that is given to Satan, although it translates to that in our modern text. Peter was not possessed by Satan and Jesus was not speaking to Satan; Satan was not in the room. The word Satan means adversary, or one who opposes as the enemy, specifically opposed to the work of redemption. Jesus used a word that was a diminutive of Satan when He used it against Peter. It was as if Jesus was adding the letters "ish" or "esque" to the name of Satan when He used it in context. Jesus was referring to Peter's words as something that would sound like they were coming from Satan. Jesus wanted to get Peter's attention, to understand the words Peter was suggesting were actually opposed to the redemptive work of the Christ through His death. If Peter was right, and Jesus did not suffer death on the cross, there would be no redemption, no salvation of sins. Peter had declared Jesus was the Christ but if the Christ did not die for the sins of mankind, then Salvation could not be attained. If this happened, then Satan would have won. Jesus was telling Peter that his human thoughts and reasoning would have opposed the plan of salvation just as much as Satan opposes it.

Jesus was not calling Peter, Satan, but referring to the opposition as something in favor of Satan and siding with the enemy. Jesus was nipping it in the bud, refuting the thought rather aggressively, to make sure the reasoning did not spread or continue. We must ensure our ideas do not get imposed upon the work the Lord is trying to accomplish. We must make certain not to cross the line and enter human reasoning into the equation, rather always seeking the Lord's design for it all, even if it includes death. The Lord's design for our lives, His plan to use you, may not make sense but to deny it would be akin to siding with the enemy, being like-minded with Satan.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matthew 16:13-28

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