From Self Agenda to Divine Agenda [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
Jesus resolutely purposed to die for you and He’d rebuke you if you had tried to stop Him!
Today’s Text: “And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”” (Matthew 16:22–23, ESV)
You can learn a lot about a person by what makes him/her mad. We ought to pay attention to what made Jesus angry. This is one of those moments.
Today’s text comes on the heels of Jesus’ blessing and renaming the impetuous fisherman Peter. He’s Simon. Then he’s Peter. And, then, he is Satan?
It’s shocking because Jesus doesn’t have words this strong for anyone else, with the possible exception of the Pharisees. But, even then, Jesus speaks in generalizations that don’t feel so pointed. It’s one thing if you are part of a team and the coach says, “You all played like a bunch of losers.” It’s quite another thing if the coach picks you out at the end of the game by name and says, “Alan, you played terribly today.”
It’s understandable how angry he was at the religious leaders. After all, they wanted to kill Jesus. After all, the Pharisees were condemning their people – enslaving them with legalism. You would think that Jesus would be most mad at the ones who wanted to put him on the cross; instead, he’s most mad at the man who didn’t want him to go the cross. What brings arguably the strongest rebuke anywhere recorded on the lips of Jesus is a friend whom He had just blessed. And it is a friend who earnestly speaks with noble intentions stemming from his love for Jesus!
I don’t think Jesus was mad at Peter; He was mad at the devil.
The greatest temptations of Jesus are revealed in His showdown with the devil in the desert in Matthew 4. Satan tempted Jesus to turn stone to bread, to defy gravity and to take an earthly throne. In other words, the Accuser tempted the Messiah to take a short cut to glory – to use His divinity for His own gain rather than to fulfill His purpose for coming. When, in Matthew 4:10, Jesus declares: “Be gone Satan,” He uses one word in the Greek: “Hypago.”
When Jesus rebukes Peter in Matthew 16, He uses the exact same word: “Hypago.”
When Jesus heard Peter tempting Him to avoid the cross, He remembered the devil in the wilderness. He looked at Peter, but He spoke to the devil. Jesus got mad at Peter for telling Him not to die because Jesus came to die for Peter – and for you. And that’s the Gospel!
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