Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 16:21-23

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men!"

To whom is this command spoken?

Jesus here speaks to Peter, but it seems the command is for Satan. What could this mean?

What does the command require?

"Get behind me, Satan!" Get out of the way.

What truths do we learn here?

What could this command mean? Is Jesus speaking to Peter or to Satan? Is Peter possessed by Satan? What is going on here? I turn to William MacDonald to help bring some clarity here:

"In calling Peter Satan, Jesus did not imply that the apostle was demon-possessed or Satan-controlled. He simply meant that Peter's actions and words were what could be expected of Satan (whose name means adversary). By protesting against Calvary, Peter became a hindrance to the Savior." -The Believer's Bible Commentary

Peter had aligned himself as Jesus adversary here. He was getting in the way of what Jesus came to do. By doing this, he put himself in the position to be rebuked by the Lord and put in his place. Peter was always sticking his foot in his mouth. Just moments before this, Peter had called Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. Now he takes Jesus aside and rebukes Him. He is the picture of a sporadic, unstable Christian. Peter was passionate, that is for certain, but in all this passion, he had a hard time keeping a consistent walk with Jesus.

Steadiness is important in the Christian walk. We must do our best to walk one step at a time, listening to the words of Jesus and following Him. This is an easy thing to say, and a hard thing to do. We must constantly lay aside our own desires and ambitions and pick up the desires and ambitions that Jesus has for us. Keep Him in the forefront of our minds and keep ourselves at the back.

Peter's rash words brought rebuke. Let us learn from Peter and walk humbly with our God.

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