MUSINGS – March 28, 2019


Matthew 16:21-23
From that time on Jesus began to inform his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem. There he would have to suffer a lot because of the leaders, chief priests, and scribes. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be brought back to life. Peter took him aside and objected to this. He said, “Heaven forbid, Lord! This must never happen to you!” But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get out of my way, Satan! You are tempting me to sin. You aren’t thinking the way God thinks but the way humans think.”

Jesus was more to Peter than his master and teacher. Peter loved Jesus as a friend and also he had just declared his belief that Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God. Peter was upset by this talking about Jesus being killed. For one thing Peter assumed that the Messiah would set up an earthly kingdom and free Israel from domination by the Romans. It was unthinkable that the Messiah would suffer and die.

Peter took Jesus aside and privately began to rebuke him for talking about suffering and dying. He said, “Lord, may God never permit that to happen to you! That must certainly not happen!”

Then Jesus turned to look at Peter, and he said to him, “Stop talking to me like that. Stop saying what Satan would say.” Remember in Matthew 4:8-9 that the devil took Jesus on top of a very high mountain. There he showed him all the nations in the world and the magnificent things in those nations. And then he said to him, “I will let you rule all these nations and give you the magnificent things in them if you bow down and worship me.” So, truly Peter was tempting Jesus in the same way that Satan had.

Jesus rebuked Peter for trying to prevent what God has planned! He said to Peter, “You are a hindrance to me, because you are not thinking like God thinks. Instead, you are thinking like people think!”

We are human and we think like mortal people. We are so concerned with this present existence that we often forget that we are eternal beings. This body that we inhabit will one day passaway. However, we have an imperishable body that will live forever with God. God is mindful of our earthly life but His main focus is on our eternal soul.

Satan can ever only tempt us with things of this earthly life. He will dangle wealth, power, and all the pretty baubles of this physical existence to try and distract us from thinking of our spiritual life. Do not be fooled.

The apostle Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:3-8,  “Nothing should be done out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility lift others up above yourselves, considering not only your own interests but also the interests of others. Let the spirit of Christ Jesus be yours also. Though the divine nature was his from the beginning, yet he did not look on equality with God as above all things to be clung to, but impoverished himself by taking the nature of a servant and becoming like one of us; he appeared among us as a man, and still further humbled himself by submitting even to death — to death on a cross! “

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