10.01.30 Mt. 16:21-23 (See also Mk. 8:31-33; Lk. 9:21-22) Caesarea Philippi
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!”
23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.”
“From then on.” This was the first of four discussions Jesus had with the disciples concerning the future events in Jerusalem. Most scholars believe this is the beginning point of a major shift of emphasis in the ministry of Jesus. Others believe it began earlier when the leading Pharisees accused Jesus of using the power of Beelzubub (Mt. 10:16-33; 12:22-28). Regardless, no longer did He focus on teaching the crowds with parables, but rather, He prepared His disciples for His coming afflictions and death in Jerusalem. He specifically said,
- He had to go to Jerusalem
- His rejection would intensify resulting in suffering from the elders, chief priests and scribes, (and the high priest).
- He must be killed
- He will rise on the third day, Marks says that “after three days.”
The disciples heard but did not understand these four points until after His crucifixion and resurrection. Notice that every time Jesus said that He would die, He also said that He would be raised on the third day. However, the disciples could not comprehend that a messiah who could do the profound miracles that Jesus performed, would die – it was not in their theology.
At this point the disciples were beginning to wonder if Jesus truly was the messiah. And for good reason – in the Old Testament the messiah beings an eternal kingdom, so how could it be possible for Him to die? It has been suggested that for the purpose of encouraging their weakening faith, God the Father then orchestrated the Transfiguration – an event in which the Shekinah Glory was profoundly displayed.
“Get behind Me Satan!” These words spoken by Jesus were harsh because He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and understood that He would have to die. Jesus did not mean that Peter was demon-possessed or unsaved but rather that it was Satan’s plan not to have Jesus die for the sins of humanity. The name Satan literally means Adversary. Peter, by his ignorance, was being used by Satan in an attempt to derail this divine plan by keeping Jesus from going to the cross where He would become the sacrifice for the sin of the world. The core issue is that Peter, of course, did not want Jesus to die. However, Satan did not want Jesus to die either. Peter and the other disciples still did not realize that Jesus would have to die, or there would be no resurrection; no victory over death and its power; and no divine sacrifice for the sins of those who would place their faith in Christ Jesus. One must wonder if Jesus had previously changed Simon’s name to Peter because of the firmness of his faith, or because of the hardness of his head.
It should be noted that some translators have translated this passage slightly differently. It should be noted, however, that the variation does not matter and, in fact, Luke (9:21-27) does not even record the rebuke. The key point is that discipleship in the Kingdom of God has no room for compromise. Every believer must be both committed and obedient.
“You are an offense to Me.” Jesus, who called Peter a rock, now used a word play and called him a stumbling block, a different kind of rock. Peter had good intentions but they were not in line with the message or mission of Jesus.
. The first time Jesus predicted His death was in Mt. 16:21-28; Mk. 8:31-35, and Lk. 9:21-27. The second time was in Mt. 17:22-23; Mk. 9:30-32 and Lk. 9:44-45. And the third time was in Mt. 20:17-19; Mk. 10:32-34 and Lk. 18:31-34.
. Barclay, “Matthew.” 2:149.
. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 298-300.
. Stoutenburg, “’Out of My Sight!’, ‘Get Behind Me!’, or ‘Follow After Me1’; There is No Choice in God’s Kingdom.” 173-88.
. Foster and King, Binding and Loosening. 164.