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, chief priests and 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 things of God, but the things of
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny
himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he
gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his
soul? (Matthew 16:21-26).
Many of us may read this passage and feel sorry for
Peter. His intentions seem noble as he took Jesus aside and told Him, "This shall
never happen to you!" But Peters rebuke carried with it overtones of selfish
concern, and Jesus promptly responded with a rebuke of His own, "Get behind me,
Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the
things of men." We do not know exactly what Peters thoughts were, or what he
was trying to say to Jesus, but it is clear by what Jesus said that Peters motives
were not pure.
Jesus had a purpose, and He reminded Peter of that
purpose as He spoke of the cross. Jesus had come to lay down His life. He was not given a
normal life in this world, but a cross to carry. As he followed God, He counted His life
as forfeited--given up for the will and purpose of the Father.
Peters remarks clearly expressed his desire to see
God work in Jesus according to Peters plan. But Jesus reminded Peter that there is a
greater plan than ours, and it is the plan we must follow. Even as Christ gave up His
right to a life of His choice on this earth so that the greater plan of God might be
accomplished, He admonished that the rest of us are asked to do the same. To do any less
is to become a stumbling block to the purposes of God. To choose our plan over His is to
not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
We make a lot of plans in this life, and so often without
consulting God. Careers, churches, locations, marriage partners, and many other life
decisions are made with the things of man in mind. May God help us to follow
Him in all our ways, and not just a selected few.
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight