Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[c] Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
What does it mean to "see things merely from a human point of view"?
Here is Peter. He had just been blessed by Jesus for seeing Jesus' true spiritual nature and He had been told that this was revealed to him by the God of Heaven. It must have been an empowering feeling to have Jesus tell you that you were going to be the foundation of (the starting point) of Jesus' church. How exciting to hear that he would be given the power and the keys to accomplish his declared mission. After all, this is what the disciples hungered for at this point; a position of power in the coming Kingdom.
But then Jesus gives them more truth. Truth He had been preparing them to see for so long. He starts to explain that His Kingdom will be started with Him suffering at the hands of the Jewish leaders and ultimately "begin" with His death. At this point Peter loses his "connection" with spiritual understanding and his human understanding kicks in. It is ironic that just moments before he had been in touch with this understanding and now he is so far from it that Jesus must rebuke him in a heavy handed way. Jesus tells him to stay away because he is now playing the part of an adversary (satan)and is a stumbling block (no longer seeing things from a spiritual perspective); the perspective guided by God's Will.
Putting ourselves in Peter's shoes, what parts do truth and prejudice play in this scenario?
When we allow the prejudice of our environment, our friends opinions, our upbringing, our own fleshly will and desires to guide our beliefs we are making a way for the adversary to use us to the detriment of the fulfillment of God's Will. Our prejudices can influence our thoughts and actions; they may even foster good intentions (which is what Peter thought he was displaying) but no matter the feeling or intention, if it is contrary to the Will of the Father, then it is a "stumbling block". Peter had just declared Jesus the Son of the Living God, and now he is so confused by what he had been brought up to believe that he actually attempts to argue a scriptural fact with Jesus.
Truth is the key. But it must be truth that is understood through two avenues.
1) Through the requested help of the Holy Spirit and
2) through the setting aside of our prejudices and preconceived notions; our "humanness".
It is an acceptance of that truth, no matter how hard that truth is to accept, and an eventual surrender to that truth (which is surrendering to God's Will), that allows us to live as Christ lived. We know this as surrendering self. Surrendering self is not a squishy feeling or a moment of deep meditation where you "empty" self. These are tricks. Surrender is a seeking of God's Will and then DOING it even though it goes against your human nature. Jesus goes on to explain this to Peter and the other disciples after he admonishes Peter for displaying his own will and not the Father's Will. This is also known as OBEDIENCE.
How does Jesus describe surrender?
Following his rebuke of Peter, He uses many phrases that are very "famous" in the Christian world to describe what Peter had just done and what was really required of a follower. They are often quoted apart from each other and not always in the context of why Jesus was giving this counsel.
"Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me."
"If you try to hold on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it."
"What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?"
Jesus is explaining what it really means to be His follower. We must give up our own life, we must put aside our selfishness and put aside anything in this world that will keep us from doing the Father's Will. All that you do must be in accordance to the desires of the one you are following, otherwise you are no longer a follower...you are now a "stumbling block".
My friends, obedience is not bad. Obedience is the source of being blessed by God. He cannot use us or guide us if we will not listen to Him. Do not make the Word of God into an idol shaped by your own hands; your own wants and desires. Let God lead you by reading His Word and asking Him to show you His Will. He will show you if you are willing to listen with an open heart and a true desire to see HIS TRUTH.
It is always my prayer to know Your Will. Remove "me" from the equation and always help me to see Your Will. I also ask for the power and the strength to do Your Will. I want to obey You with my heart surrendered.
Thank you for all that you provide in my life. Lord, protect me from the adversary and help me to not be a stumbling block to others. Help me to always give to others the help that would be pleasing to You.
Be with my family and friends. Be with Ken as he struggles with his daughter. Teach him to fight darkness with light, evil with good, and hate with love. Help him to remember that he is fighting not flesh and blood but principalities and powers.
Be with our Monday night bible study group as we start up again. Help the time to be a glory to You Lord. Help us to see Your truth.
Lord I ask for your help in making the neighborhood gathering a success. Bring in at least one lost soul who needs to be fed and then please Lord, help us to feed them from Your table.
It seems that there is little time Lord. I ask that You would work in a mighty way to bring union and love into our little church.
Thank you for answering these prayers. Give me the peace to accept the answers. Amen.
- "Get Behind Me, Satan!" (fellowshipofsaintsandsinners.wordpress.com)