Matthew 16 : 21 – 25, From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. NKJV
In order to live a life that is pleasing to our heavenly Father, it is essential that Christians learn how to discern between the flesh nature and the Spirit of God. I would define discernment as being able to see through deception and lies. Discernment can also be the ability to know the very intent and point of origin of a motive or thought. For example, we can see in today’s scriptures how Jesus could discern Simon’s response as a motivation or prompting of Satan.
We can sometimes act just like Simon did in this story because we don’t always know what is hidden in our own hearts until God decides to reveal it to us through a situation. Have you ever set out to do something for someone and had your actions completely misunderstood? I’m sure we can all imagine how Peter must have felt when he tried to prevent Jesus from obeying God’s will and consequently, Jesus called him Satan?
Jesus could recognize that Satan was using Simon’s flesh nature to try to get Him to abort His assignment on the cross. Simon had good intentions. However, if Jesus had listened to Simon, no one would be saved. It’s obvious that Peter loved Jesus and wasn’t going to stand idly by and let Him suffer without a fight. Like Peter, we can respond to many things in our own strength in an attempt to keep ourselves or someone else from suffering for the sake of Christ. Nevertheless, if the situation is the will of God, then we may be opening the door for Satan to try to override the plan of God.
Why is it that out of all the disciples present, Peter was the only one who had a negative response to what Jesus had told them? The Lord used this occasion to reveal to Simon (Peter) a weakness in his life that needed to be addressed. Once again, as Christians we must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, lest we allow our flesh to get us in trouble. Trouble will occur when we respond to God’s will in the same way that Simon responded to Jesus. Simon made the mistake of thinking more highly of himself than he ought. The Lord tells us to humble ourselves under His mighty hand and in due season He will raise us up.
If we should ignore the Lord’s rebuke and become offended when we are corrected, it will only show that we have allowed pride to respond instead of humility. Jesus didn’t correct Simon in front of everyone so that He could humiliate him, but that He might show Simon what Satan was doing through his fleshly ways. Whether we admit it or not, our flesh can become an open door for Satan to enter our lives and have a voice of influence that affects our decisions.
Jesus never allowed His flesh to give place to the Devil, even though He walked as a Man on the earth. (John 1: 14) He was completely submitted to His Father’s will, although it caused Him to suffer and die. Peter tells us in his epistle that Jesus had no sin; neither was there any deceit in His mouth. We too can lead a victorious life, if we choose to live a crucified life as Jesus did. We have the same Holy Spirit, and the same heavenly Father that Jesus did while He was on the earth. Nonetheless, we must be willing to die to self and allow God to be glorified in our lives through obedience. May the Glory of the Lord shine through you today!
May I Decrease That He Might Increase,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery