A higher perspective
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.”
Matthew 16:23 (NIV)
Harsh words from Jesus to Peter, one might think, but little did Peter (also known as Simon) realise that he was a key figure in an enormous struggle; the big fisherman with a big heart had vast potential for good – and for evil. Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” ( Luke 22:31-32). The statement ‘when you have turned back’ indicates that Peter was headed in the wrong direction (Satan’s direction).
Jesus’s plan was to go to Jerusalem, where he would be rejected and ‘…suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’ (Matthew 16:21). All this was to make salvation available, through the grace of God, to a lost world.
Satan does not want salvation to be available to all, he wants mankind to be lost. Satan influenced Peter in order to distract him from his participation in Jesus’s mission. Sometimes Satan will use the influence of fellow believers to detract us from God’s purpose for us in Christ. When Jesus began to explain the details of his forthcoming death, Peter indignantly retorted, “Never, Lord! …This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22). And to Peter’s protest Jesus replied, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me…”
Well-intentioned human beings can get in God’s way; we need to see things from a higher perspective. Peter gained heaven’s view by special revelation: “Blessed are you, Simon…this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven…” (Matthew 16:17).
We have the Scriptures, the Gospel witness and, most importantly, believers have the Holy Spirit to call upon for wisdom, enlightenment and understanding, and to help us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Eternal Father, thank you for sending your one and only begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who paid the ultimate price for all mankind by dying on the cross, being buried and raised to life so that our sins be forgiven. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Study by Dennis Payne
About the writer:
Dennis Payne is a Deacon in the Central London congregation of Grace Communion International.
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