Matthew 16:21-23; Passion Prediction

It seems that popular teaching and understanding did not prepare the disciples of Jesus for the idea of a suffering Messiah. We often look at Isaiah 53 is such light, but that is only in hindsight, knowing what happened to Jesus.

It is also apparent that the main temptation faced by Jesus was the temptation to the kingdom without the cross. Satan tried it in the wilderness. The Pharisees and Sadducees tried it. Now Peter tries it. Jesus still isn’t biting.

Jesus explains that it is necessary for him to suffer and die. He also discloses that he will be raised, but the disciples don’t seem to hear that part. (For those who are troubled by Mark’s “after three days”, you will be happy that Matthew uses the more precise “on the third day.”)

And Peter, newly authorized to speak for God, speaks for Satan instead. This should show us some of the limits to the authorization Jesus bestowed on Peter. It should also show us how backwards disciples of Jesus can get things. Imagine Peter correcting Jesus.

Then imagine Peter being corrected by Jesus. It is harsh. Jesus uses almost the same language he used in the wilderness temptation. He also calls Peter a stumbling block, perhaps another play on his nickname.

Peter’s vision is not fully enough on God. He is too influenced by the world, which is to be influenced by Satan.

There are people today in the church who speak for Satan rather than for Jesus. They are set on the things of man rather than God. They are a stumbling block to those who travel with them. They want another way and want to avoid the way of the cross.

Get behind me, Satan!

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