From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)
It was becoming more and more obvious that the chief priests and the teachers and the Scribes and the Pharisees were out to get Jesus... any way that they could. They attempted to get Him to admit that He was the Son of God. This would be enough to convict Him. But He refused to fall into their trap. Then He warned them what would happen to them because of their rejection of Him by telling the parable of the vine-growers, showing them that He was the chief cornerstone of God. (Luke 20:17) They tried to trap Him with spies sent to ask seemingly innocent questions about paying their taxes, the expected answers to which would convict Jesus. But again, He refused to fall into their trap. Each morning of the last week of Jesus' life here on earth, the people would get up early and hurry to the temple to hear Him teach. And our Lord didn't disappoint them. He spent all of each day speaking to them about God. With one explanation after another, He told the people who He was, and how important it is to remain alert to false teaching. And at night, He would go alone to Mount Olivet to be alone and pray.
Jesus knew He was the target of a plot to kill Him. He knew exactly what was coming. He had told His disciples over and over again that He was going to Jerusalem to die. When Peter tried to deny this truth, Jesus said, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" Jesus was telling Peter that if He ¨C Jesus - didn't go to the cross, Satan's will would be accomplished, not God's.
Today, put yourself in Peter's shoes. Think about how patient Jesus was with him... how He nurtured this big, blustering, foot-in-mouth man of action, knowing what a great leader he would one day become. Think about how Peter felt each time Jesus rebuked him, showing Peter up for the speak-first-and-think-later man that he was. Think about how it felt to have Jesus look Peter in the eye and say that before the cock crowed that night - the night of Jesus' crucifixion - that Peter would deny three times that he even knew Jesus. Think about how Peter felt when he realized that Jesus¡¯ prophecy had come true. Think about how Peter felt for those three long, lonely days after Jesus death on the cross, when the last sight Peter had of the Lord was just moments after Peter had denied Him and Jesus looked him in the eye in pain and disappointment and in full knowledge of what Peter would later be. And then after three horrible days of feeling dirty and worthless and lower than the lowest of all human beings for what he had done, think about the incredible forgiveness and grace Peter felt when he heard that the risen Christ's first message was, "Tell Peter I'm alive!"
From Dogwood Ministries, Inc.
Used with Permission