Peter and Satan, #50

“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 16:23, (context, vv. 21-23)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Peter had the honor of announcing the identity of the Messiah– but suddenly he’s being called– “Satan!” (The capital S always interests me.) Peter is often seen as a bit hasty and impulsive, and this is evidence. As a follower of Jesus I can be in complete confusion of the ways of the Kingdom.

Devilish. Hindrance.

I regard Peter cautiously here. In my clearer moments, I realize I’ve got a disturbingly awkward resemblance to Peter. It disturbs me some–I know the possibility exists of me acting this foolishly, and I’m somewhat ashamed.

In my honest moments, (somewhat less often than I think) I realize that I fluctuate an awful lot–I have made some real goofy bone-headed responses to things, and at times they bordered on the satanic. Maybe they were? That disturbs and frightens me. I get a bit Peter-ish.

We are rebuked, but never ever forsaken.

I’m somewhat astonished that Jesus didn’t give up on Peter here. Maybe Peter just wasn’t getting it, maybe he wasn’t discipleship material. Why was he so out of touch with the ways of the Kingdom?

To be the first disciple to announce the true Messiah’s identity to everyone, and then plummet to becoming the Prince of darkness was pretty extreme. It would undo most. Trying to understand, trying to respond. Many would’ve just quit. Not Peter, not for the grace of our great God.

Thank you Jesus for not rejecting me.

“The things of man” is a key thought I think. It describes the entire idea of what humanity does. It seems our way of doing things is in direct opposition to the ways of God. Our ways are not His ways. The KJV puts an odd culinary spin on it with it choice of words:

“For thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

Maybe having a t-bone steak on the grill kind of hunger for the ways of God is needed? Perhaps the real issue is one of spiritual appetite. Repeatedly Jesus uses the teaching image of the feast. “A hunger and thirst for righteousness” kind of faith, (Matt. 5:4.)

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”

-C.S. Lewis

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