S116P4 – Difficult truths: Peter

Mat. 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

He knew that God had called him to a life much different than that of his parents, and he knew it from an early age.  Mom and dad always expected that he would continue in the family business because that is what his people had done for generations.  No one ever dared venture away from that hometown and start a completely different way of life for themselves.  No one dreamed of being far away in a foreign land or retreating to an island paradise.  He was the only one with such dreams, and his family fought him tooth and nail the entire way.  It was one guilt trip after another, but he had to stand his ground regarding what he knew God had shown him.  To live the life they desired for him would have meant to defy the Lord.

Peter loved Jesus, and we cannot deny that.  His confession that he would never betray his Lord was a sincere confession of his heart’s desire.  Ultimately, he could not keep that promise when the fire got hot, but that love was there all the same.  When Jesus tried teaching his disciples that it was the Father’s plan for him to die and then rise again, Peter railed against that plan.  Peter might have thought he was coming from a place of love because he wanted to protect his Lord, but all he was doing was standing against the plan of God.  For Jesus, that was not something He could tolerate.  To try and keep God’s plan from happening would be to act just as Satan acts.  It might seem like a harsh statement, but Jesus was right.

On one side, we have the terrible and unimaginable fate that awaited Jesus from the moment of his arrest until his death on the cross.  On the other side, we have the glory and victory that Jesus gained from fulfilling God’s plan to redeem all creation.  Peter did not understand that all the suffering was well worth the glory and the victory.  To protect Jesus from that pain would have meant to forfeit redemption.  Had Peter been more concerned with spiritual things than with mortal things, he would have seen the beauty of this sacrifice and championed it.  Father, give us minds like yours to be focused on fulfilling your plan for your purposes without being concerned with mortal worry.