Matthew 16:21-23 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you.” But he turned, and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.”
Jesus was not exaggerating when he told the disciple who loved him so dearly, “Get behind me, Satan!” Just verses before, Peter had been highly praised for his divinely-given spiritual insight:
Matthew 16:17-19 . . . Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven . . .
Now, so soon afterward, this same man was being used as a tool of Satan as a potential stumbling block to the Son of God – hoping to tempt him to avoid the cross and so abort the eternal Son’s holy but humiliating and agonizing mission to save us all.
I am so grateful for the uncompromising honesty of the Bible. We have much to be humble about. So many of us – probably even the best of us – are like Peter: flowing in the anointing of God one moment and being unwittingly used by the devil the next.
No matter how close we get to God and how much divine revelation we receive, we still have more to learn and need to move still closer to God’s heart. No matter how much progress we make, we must still keep burned into our brains, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn’t fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Bible Versions Used
King James Version
King James Version