Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
A few nights ago, I read the following verses in Matthew 16:
21 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.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
When I finished reading the words “Get thee behind me Satan”, the words literally seemed to jump a half-inch off the page. I immediately felt like the Lord started showing me the following things:
When Jesus heard Peter say, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee”, a very familiar feeling rose up in Jesus’ bosom. Jesus had felt this feeling (or something very close to it) when he had heard words very similar to these come out of Satan’s mouth on at least one other occasion. Jesus immediately discerned that Satan had inspired Peter’s words. Peter was speaking under the influence of a spirit that Peter was not discerning. Peter had no idea what he was saying, nor did he have any idea what kind of damage these words could have caused if they had “taken root” in Jesus. Peter was no match for Satan, and Jesus knew it. When Jesus shot back, “Get thee behind me Satan”, Jesus was not talking to Peter. He was talking to Satan. I feel like the story could have just as well read like this:
“But he [Jesus] 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.’” After Jesus said these things, Jesus gave Peter a big hug and said, “Oh, c’mon Peter; you’re doing alright. Let’s go grab a hamburger.”
This was the gist of what I felt like the Lord was telling me. As I started to write these things down, I felt as though the Lord suggested something else to me (paraphrased), “Some of the conversation that Jesus had with Satan in the wilderness is recorded. Why don’t you go and see what they say?” I hurriedly paged to Matthew 4 and was stunned to find the following:
8 Again, the Devil taketh him [Jesus] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
What I suspected the Lord was telling me became all the more clear when I read these verses. The voice that Jesus so quickly discerned through Peter was that same super-cunning, super-evil voice that Jesus heard in the wilderness. It was that very wicked voice that was trying to keep Jesus from accomplishing the will of his Father. The voice was saying, in essence, “You don’t really have to go through all that suffering (see A2 below). If you just put down that cross I’ll give you the whole world (see A1 below).” This evil was way beyond Peter.
Here’s a chart that compares the two conversations, one with Peter and the other with Satan in the wilderness.
“All these things [kingdoms of the world and their glory] will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
“Be it far from you, Lord. This [suffering and death at Jerusalem] shall not be unto to you.”
“Get thee hence, Satan! For it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve’ ”
“Get thee behind me Satan! You are an offense to me, for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” 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 lose his life for my sake shall find it.” “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Try to imagine Jesus responding to Satan’s first attack (Attack #1, above) with Jesus’ reply to Peter (Reply #2). It fits perfectly. Alternatively, try to imagine Jesus responding to Satan’s second attack through Peter (Attack #2) with Jesus’ reply to Satan in the wilderness (Reply #1). It also fits perfectly. After I laid these things out, I could see that Satan was trying to accomplish the same thing in both situations; he was trying to keep Jesus from serving his Father. And in both situations, Jesus’ reply was the same: his Father alone is to be served.
I also read the following in Luke 4:13, “And when the Devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” This also lent support to what I felt like the Lord was telling me; namely, Jesus still had to deal with Satan even after Jesus “finished him off” in the wilderness. The Father probably gave Satan a fair number of roles to play while He was in the process of perfecting His Son Jesus. The “Peter Scene” was just one of them.
When the Lord first started showing me this, I felt that I was being taught a completely new thing concerning Jesus’ life (new to me). As silly as it may sound, I think I’ve always thought that Jesus was just “cruising through” this life, for the most part, and things just got rather rough for him at the end of it. I couldn’t help but notice that right before Satan showed up to speak through Peter, Jesus was telling his disciples about the suffering he would soon have to endure. Jesus knew he was about to be dragged off, tortured, and killed. It occurred to me the other night that Jesus was feeling the way any other human would have been feeling at that moment, a little “shaken” about what was coming. He was about to be put through an awful lot and he knew it. Then Satan shows up, just at the moment when Jesus has his mind on the suffering he was about to endure, to suggest to him that he really didn’t have to go through with it.
I realized the other night that Jesus was not exempt from spiritual warfare, as I thought he was. Jesus was a real “one of us”. He had to deal with the same types of pressures that all of us do, pressures that are intent on derailing us from doing the will of our Father. For Jesus to say and think, albeit briefly, that his Father had forsaken him is saying something. Jesus was not just “cruising through”, as I have always thought (without even knowing that’s what I thought). He knows even better than we do what it’s like to be “one of us”.
I’m glad that the Lord opened my eyes so I could better understand the life that Jesus lived. But I’m more glad for the effect I feel like it’s had on me; Jesus feels like more of a brother than ever to me. I feel like I can pray to him better than ever. He knows exactly what we’re going through and is wanting very badly to help us if we will look up and ask.
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This is a good, sound, thought-provoking message. It is precisely the kind of communication that God’s children need with one another, “to provoke one another to love and good works”, to edify and to comfort one another.
We are told that Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” What you are saying in this letter is “amen” to the truth, and that is all we ever really have to say, or need to say, as servants of God.