He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Jesus began to explain to the disciples that the Messiah must undergo rejection by Israel. Then, He needed to die on the cross, be buried and three days later, rise from the dead.
Peter was obviously upset by this. He was so taken back by hearing about the Lord’s death that he totally missed the part about rising from the dead. He began to rebuke Jesus for His “negative confession.”
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
No, Peter was not possessed by the devil at this time. The Greek word, satan, means accuser. Jesus was not calling Peter the devil, but describing his actions. (Actually, the devil would have enjoyed seeing Jesus die.)
In his statement, Peter was accusing Jesus of being out of the will of God for his life. Peter was placing himself on the same level as Christ, telling Him what He should be doing.
That’s why the Lord told him to get behind me. In other words, you’re not my peer; get back in line following me where you belong. He explained that Peter was not thinking like God thinks, but like men think.
Jesus took this as a teachable moment.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Christ makes it clear that in following Him, we have to give up our fleshly, human way of thinking. Ministry in the kingdom of God is not based on what I think is best for God. It’s about what He thinks is best.
Too often we’re guilty of giving God our opinion of what should be done. Then, we run off with our plans and seek God’s blessing on it. We then get frustrated wondering why it has no effect.
Instead, we need to seek the Holy Spirit to change the way we think. We need our minds to be renewed. Because if I can think the way God does, then I’m going to want His perfect will.
This is important. I won’t need to seek His will; I’ll know it because I want what He wants. Then it will be blessed – not because I prayed for God to bless it, but because it’s already anointed by God.
That’s why we need to spend quality time in the Lord’s presence. But not spending all our time seeking things and answers to problems. We must desire to know Him better – His thoughts, His will, and His heartbeat.
Question: What’s the difference between seeking God’s will and seeking God’s heart?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi