August 05, 2022

“Get Behind Me, Satan”

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” . . . You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

—  Matthew 16:23

The words of Jesus to Peter here came soon after the faith-filled profession Peter had made when he said to Jesus, “You are the Messiah” (Matt. 16:16). Jesus was now teaching his disciples that he had come to suffer, be killed, and rise again. He would offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Hearing that, Peter rebuked Jesus, saying, “Never, Lord! . . . This shall never happen to you!” So Jesus called Peter out and revealed that he had missed the main point of Jesus’ mission. From a human standpoint we can sympathize with Peter. We too would likely be shocked to hear that Jesus had come to suffer and die in order to rise again and give us new, abundant life.

Today, though, we know how important it is to discern truth from lies, listening for God’s Word rather than listening to the lies of false religions and false teachers around us—don’t we? It should be clear to us that it takes effort and perseverance to prepare ourselves to discern properly.

So until Jesus returns to make all things new, we must read the Bible and listen to Jesus, who died because he loved us, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven to make his abundant life available for all who believe in him. Trust the truth, the way, and the life.

Risen and ascended Lord, you are the Messiah, and I confess that my actions and words do not always confirm that. Give me the strength and courage to stand up for you always. Amen.

About the author — Evan Heerema

Evan Heerema is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington state and in Michigan. He was also on the teaching staff at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for ten years. He and his wife are the parents of two daughters and the grandparents of two grandsons.

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