Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 19)
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.'
Matthew 16:22-23 (NKJV)
The Bible distance from Peter's rebuke to his Lord's previous commendation... is just three Verses: the briefest moment. First Christ calls Peter a rock of the church. Then He looks at him and calls him Satan, because Satan was speaking through Peter.
But how might we see Peter's entreaty? Would we see his words to Jesus as love? Wasn't he just trying to protect Him? Because Peter didn't yet understand why his Leader's death was necessary. So was his Teacher's response way too harsh?
Certainly not! Jesus defines justice.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Consider some sobering lessons:
1) Even the holiest men on earth can be influenced by the devil. If Satan got into Peter's mind when he was walking next to Jesus, he'll try to grab every Christian's thoughts, given the right opportunity.*
2) The right opportunity arrived just after Peter was commended. Perhaps he got a little puffed up. Trying to correct God's Messiah might indicate Peter's pride had grown. Man's pride is Satan's invitation.
3) If you think Satan got to Peter before God's Spirit was indwelling (so this can't happen to us today), then recall Peter's A.D. blunder; Paul labeled Peter a hypocrite, since he didn't practice what he preached.**
4) Don't give Satan too much importance, but neither underestimate him--trusting pastors or famous preachers have some scriptural immunity. Instead, scrutinize leaders closely through the lens of the Word of the Lord.***
To Be Continued...
* Clarification note by AMTC's Devotion Editor, Julia Keeley (with which I certainly agree). 'Satan is not omniscient so he is not able to read our minds. We humans have plenty of pride without requiring assistance from him. However he's definitely more than willing. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So when we start yapping about how wonderful we are or how well we performed in a certain situation, he's delighted to step in and help us down Pride Road. He gets into our mind by permission from our mouth.'
** Galatians 2:11-21: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2%3A11-21&version=NKJV
** Reference article: Peter's Capitulation and Paul's Correction (Galatians 2:11-21): https://bible.org/seriespage/6-peter-s-capitulation-and-paul-s-correction-galatians-211-21
*** Other than the Lord Himself, my favorite author/scholar/expert on spiritual warfare is Derek Prince. I recommend any of his clear, insightful books. http://www.derekprince.org
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.