We are still in Caesarea Philippi with Jesus and His disciples. Peter has just proclaimed Jesus as the Son of the Living God, through revelation knowledge passed to him from God Himself. Today, Peter will listen to Satan instead.
Yesterday when we were looking at Jesus remarks to Peter, I didn’t mention Jesus last comment directly to Peter, or His strict instructions to the rest of the group. This was not intentional and not meant to imply these last points were insignificant. Please forgive me for rushing through and let’s look back before we move on.
When speaking directly to Peter, Jesus tells him, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (verse 19). I don’t believe Peter fully understood the gift of authority Jesus just gave him. When Jesus sent His disciples out to minister to the people He gave them authority over demons and all kinds of diseases. He gave them the message they were to proclaim. Now Jesus was giving the authority to command heavenly forces too. Peter wouldn’t really understand and employ his new authority until after Jesus ascension.
Many times in the accounts of Jesus’ life, He is reported to have told a large number of people He healed NOT to tell anyone about what had happened. They inevitably tell anyway. Today Jesus tells His disciples STRICTLY not to tell ANYONE that He is the Christ. This was inside knowledge for Jesus and His disciples only. Jesus didn’t want to interfere with God’s plan. These instructions would be kept. Later Jesus Himself would repeal these instructions and give new ones, instructing His followers to then tell EVERYONE Who He was, is, and always will be. But until then, mum was the word.
We are not told how much time passed between Jesus’ congratulating Peter for his revelation knowledge (including telling him he would be instrumental in building His church) and His pronouncement of His impending death. Because of the proximity of these two events in Matthew and Luke, experts tell us that the followed right on the heels of one another.
Jesus now shares His future with His disciples. He didn’t sugar coat it, but He also didn’t tell them every detail that was to come. He told them enough detail that it scared them. Peter’s reaction proves just how concerned they were over what Jesus was sharing.
In all their time walking with Jesus, Jesus’ disciples had never questioned His directions, decisions, or methods. Today, Peter would do just that. Maybe Peter was so emboldened by Jesus’ words to Him regarding building His church that he felt he had the right to confront Jesus; exercising his “key” privilege. Maybe Jesus’ description was so alarming that Peter thought he HAD to act to prevent Jesus words from coming true. Maybe Peter thought Jesus had lost touch with just how valuable His own men could be to Him. Maybe Peter believed that if Jesus could do all the other miracles He had done so far, surely He could prevent such a thing happening to Him. Peter thought he had to straighten Jesus out. NO WAY was he going to let Jesus go through this ordeal.
I’m certain Peter thought Jesus was speaking of something that would be inflicted on Him against His will, instead of something done to Him through His own submission. None of the disciples understood that what was coming was exactly what Jesus chose to happen. Jesus hadn’t let them in on that fact, yet. “No one takes My life, I give it willingly.”
Was Satan beginning to catch on to the plan? When Peter confronted Jesus, Jesus told Satan to get lost. Jesus’ remarks tell me that Satan planted that thought and reaction in Peter’s mind. Jesus spoke directly to Satan, then to Peter. Jesus told Peter that his behavior was a interfering in His plans, because he was only thinking about himself and not what God wanted.
Lord Jesus, I’m SO glad that Your relationship with Peter didn’t end here. I see Peter as head strong, but would never have expected this kind of behavior from him. Your reaction and words to him probably stung. I don’t know how my pride would have survived it. Maybe that was why Your words were so strong. To quash that swelling pride. Even though he listened to the wrong source, You still kept the promises You had just made to him. You would still use Peter in building Your church and You didn’t strip him of the authority You had just given him. Thank You for showing him mercy and grace. You forgave Him immediately. His story gives me hope. I identify a lot with Peter’s messes. Speaking without thinking it through. Being led by emotions. Putting my foot in my mouth. Since You forgave Peter EVERY time, I know I can ask the same for myself. Not because I’m not as bad as Peter was, but because You promised You would do the same for me. And You ALWAYS keep Your promises!