“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’ But he turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.’” -Matthew 16:21-23
Pretty intense moment, right? Every time I’ve read this passage, it always made me feel slightly confused. I mean, honestly wouldn’t you tell someone you love, “Heavens no! Don’t speak like that. I don’t want you to die!” if they just told you that they will suffer and be killed? Not only that, wouldn’t Jesus recognize Peter’s sincerity at very least even if he didn’t fully understand? Not only did Jesus tell Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan!,” but went even further saying, “You are an offense to me.” (Remember at this time Jesus isn’t exactly back in the desert wrestling with a harassing devil again when He said this). Well, at least on “the surface” He’s not.
The truth is Satan was very much was in full effect through those words, just that Peter didn’t realize it. How you may ask? Well, it’s pretty evident when you focus on the powerful take-away that is easily overlooked through the shock of what you just read that is found when Jesus continued saying, “For thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” When that piece becomes the highlight, that is when we understand what is happening here: Peter is reacting immediately in “logicical mindsets,” or “the flesh” to Jesus who is trying to teach His disciples spiritual mindsets.
Once understood, this really eximplifies the severity of the need for His spiritual perspective compared to our carnal perspective. Another example of this severity is found here:
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” -Romans 8:6-8
Simplified, the fact is this: “God doesn’t think the way we think.” We have to get past this Biblical truth in total acceptance if we want to move forward having a pure and healthy relationship with Him, even if what He tells us, or what He expects of us doesn’t make any sense to us.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9
Once matured in that area alone, that is where we truly begin to grow in our FAITH!
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” -Hebrews 11:6
Think about it: There wouldn’t be too much need for “faith” if all things from God were actually “logical” to us, wouldn’t it? I mean after all, God telling exiled Moses to straight up tell Pharoh, “Let my people go!” knowing full well he could be killed for that, wasn’t exactly logical. Or God telling the widowed woman through the prophet Elisha to feed him after being told that was her and her son’s last meal. Or God telling King Jehoshaphat to not to worry about three armies that are just about to attack him, but just to praise Him, and even send the musicians to the front lines of battle (not the infantry). There are many, many, other examples to name all throughout the Bible…
In God’s economy, “the least is the greatest.” The next couple verses illustrates some of the truest sense of differentiation between our logic and His when He said,
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” -Matthew 16:24-25
God has a nack for throwing the “curve ball” at us like that all the time. That way He has a very interesting way to prove Himself to us time, and time, and time again! It shows forth His glory, and not ours.
In closing, God takes it very seriously when we lean on the arm of the flesh, and not in faith. Remember, if it’s from God it can, and SHOULD be trusted… even if it makes absolutely no sense to us whatsoever! …Have FAITH!
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” -Philippians 3:3
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” -Psalms 118:8