Reflections In God's Word
Get Behind Me
"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.'" (Matthew 16:23).
Jesus had seen Satan face to face in the early days of His earthly ministry (Luke 4:1-13). He had even said to the devil, "Get behind me, Satan." But when He uttered these same words in the context noted above, He wasn't looking into the eyes of the father of lies. Instead, He was gazing at Peter, one of His beloved apostles. This is the same Peter whom the Lord had just commended for his confession that Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 16:16-17). This is the same Peter for whom Jesus often prayed (Luke 22:32). In fact, this is the same Peter to whom the Savior had granted the very keys of His kingdom (Matthew 16:19). Peter? Satan? How could those two names ever meet in this one man who had left his home to follow Jesus (Mark 1:16-18) and who would later give his life to and for the Lord (John 21:18-19)?
Even though Jesus was looking at Peter, He heard the tone of Satan's temptation in His apostle's voice. Jesus was on a mission. He was getting closer to the time in which He would feel the full force of the devil's wrath via the cross. It would be difficult (Luke 22:44), but Jesus was committed to His mission (Matthew 26:53-54). He did not want or need anyone, even a beloved disciple, to distract Him.
Satan's attacks come from many sources. Sometimes these sources are even friends and family members. Sometimes these individuals mean well but their words nonetheless serve as temptations to us to turn from God. Sometimes these individuals, yes, even friends and family, do NOT mean well and their desire is to knock us off the path to eternal life and drag us down with them on their road to everlasting destruction. We should love these individuals, even as Jesus loved Peter, but we should also make it clear that we will not be deterred in our walk with God. Satan used Peter to try to stop Jesus. The Lord told him to get out of the way. May we have the same determination and courage whenever Satan uses someone, ANYONE, to hinder our service to God.