“Then Peter took Him [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke Him…” (Matthew 16:22a)
If you, like Peter, want to take your Creator aside and provide Him with your greater wisdom, be advised – don’t! Instead, quietly ask yourself how many constellations you have created, how much of eternity you have lived, or how many lives you have changed? It was because of Peter’s impulsiveness that he said, “Oh no, Lord! [You are wrong.] This will never happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22b)
The next words which Peter heard – he would never forget, “… Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.” (Matthew 16:23) Peter’s profound offense is an enduring reminder of our supreme potential for impertinence. We usually do not see the world from God’s perspective and when we err, it is most often because our own human concerns dominate our thinking. Existence, creation, and history are all about Him – not about us!
When you attempt to rewrite history, theology, and ultimate truth in order to protect God from seeming out of date, non-inclusive, intolerant, or politically incorrect – get ready to take your place with Peter. It won’t be long before you hear Jesus say, “… Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me…” Why Lord? “…because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.” (Matthew 16:23)
Now advance considerably deeper in your thinking. Will your worst temptations normally be about committing murder, bank robbery, kidnapping, or perpetrating some form of sinful immorality? Most certainly not, but you might be thoughtfully asking – Why is that? It is because you can easily recognize any of those temptations as being wrong, but remember, “… Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14b) He loves half truths and foolish lies.
Said simply, Peter did not recognize who was behind the impulsive ignorance of his misguided statement to the Master. Nor did he grasp the gravity of His serious error until the words had already left his lips!
It had always been Satan’s desire across the ages to rebuke our Savior who exiled him from heaven, so don’t allow your personal testimony to be hurt by adding insult to ignorance. Jesus emphatically said, “…seek first the kingdom of God …” (Matthew 6:33) This message could not be clearer!
Our concerns are secondary to God’s concerns and that has remained true throughout history. This year, start asking Him to show you what the world should function like turned right-side-up! Guard yourself from the ignorance of shallow secular thinking and seek to view the world from the Savior’s perspective. His caring love will make you His passionate witness!
By Billie Hanks Jr.