Matthew 16:23, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”
Could you imagine what it felt like to be Peter and have Jesus call you “Satan?” Some people think Jesus was actually talking to Satan personally while he was using Peter to speak his words. Others believe Peter was being called “Satan” directly because he had adopted Satan’s words. Either way, I’m sure it was embarrassing for Peter to be rebuked so sternly by Jesus in front of everyone.
In the prior verses Peter was being honored with a new name and given a foundational role in the establishment of Jesus’ church because he was the only disciple to publically affirm who Jesus was, “The Christ” (Matthew 16:16-19). However, just a few moments later Peter tried to persuade Jesus to not go to the cross because Peter believed, along with the Jews of his day, that the Messiah was only going to come once to conquer the enemies of Israel and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
They didn’t understand Jesus was going to come first to die for sin and conquer men’s hearts, then come a second time as a King to conquer the world. Jesus was quick to correct Peter’s satanic inspired plan because if Jesus would not had died on the cross, no one could be saved and cleansed of their sins.
Though we may never have the chance to rebel against Jesus’ plans face-to-face like Peter did, we may at times reject Jesus’ plans for our lives in our hearts and share in Peter’s rebellion. In those times of rebellion, may we be able to hear and receive the kind of rebuke Peter was given from our Lord.
Many times God commands us to do something but like Peter we resist and say, “Never Lord!” However, Jesus loves us enough to correct us and let us know, at those times, our ways are not His ways and that we should repent and follow Him. Jesus loves us enough to call us out. Like a parent that must discipline their child for their own sake, God is willing to discipline us to free us from stinking thinking and sinful living. We need real grace, not cheap grace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
God taught in Hebrews 12:5-13 that He disciplines those He loves like a Father. If God wouldn’t correct us in our times of rebellion it would actually mean He doesn’t love us. As a result, we as Jesus’ disciples should always be teachable and humble. And if we can take it, we will make it! Hebrews 12:11 states, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
- Repent of the times you did not receive the Lord’s correction with humility.
- Ask God to show you the areas in your life that need to change.
- Always be sensitive to follow the plans and commands of God for your life. If you get off track, hear the Lord’s correction, be quick to repent and continue following Jesus in humility.