From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem 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. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 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.”
Jesus spoke plainly about what was in store. He was on the road to Jerusalem and the cross. He would die and be raised to life. Try to imagine hearing this as one of the disciples. It would have been hard to take in. Peter decided to take matters into his own hands.
Fresh from his great confession about Jesus revealed to him from the Father, Peter took Jesus by the arm and led Him away from the other disciples for a private “coaching” moment. Peter’s conversation with Jesus may have gone something like this: “Jesus, with all due respect, You are being a bit negative. You are probably just tired. You are the Messiah. You are not going to die. Quit talking nonsense. You are killing the morale of the disciples.” Jesus quickly turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!”
Why was Jesus so blunt with Peter? Peter was communicating Satan’s message. Satan’s temptation had always been for Jesus to have the kingdoms of the world without the cross. That was what Satan tried to get Jesus to do in the desert. That was the temptation after the feeding of the five thousand, and no doubt many other times. But Jesus came to this earth to die. He came to give His life as a ransom for us. He would reign in His kingdom…but only after the cross.
Lord Jesus, thank You for not choosing the easy way. Thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. You are and always will be the King. Thank You for humbling Yourself to death—even death on a cross. In Your name. Amen.
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