“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matt 16:21–23
Not long after Jesus called Peter a “rock,” He refers to him as “Satan” (the Hebrew word ‘satan’ means ‘adversary’). Peter was resisting what Jesus was telling them. Though Jesus included the fact that He would be raised from the dead, all they heard was their Messiah, for whom they’d given up everything, was telling them he was going to die. How many of us would act as the apostles, and Peter in particular?
Jesus wasn’t telling them these things because He was worried; only to prepare them for what would come. When the protests began, especially from Peter, Jesus had to respond abruptly, to quickly end any resistance, even knowing Peter’s feelings would be hurt. Jesus told him in striking, harsh words that Peter was not to interfere with the events being planned for Him. Peter could follow God’s will, or he could step in the way and be considered a ‘satan’ to the Messiah. What Jesus said was likely the only thing He could do to keep just a devoted man as Peter on the right path, and ready him for the days to come.
What about us? Do we see God’s will in our lives and the events around us? Are we working with Him in this, or getting in the way? He has a plan for every single person. Sometimes we do not understand it – Peter certainly didn’t – but if there is a conviction in our hearts that this (whatever ‘this’ might entail) is God’s plan, God’s will for our lives, then we must ask ourselves a question. Is there something we’re doing, a behavior or habit, language or relationship, which we know (whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not) is not in line with the will of Jesus?
Jesus’ death and resurrection was God’s ultimate plan for the world. Peter had a major role to play in this, and God made sure he understood the importance of obedience. He wants the same for us. We have a role to play in God’s story. Be it stepping out in faith to serve a church or mission field, or to simply speak to that one person to whom no one else is connecting with. For us to follow Him, we need to let go of anything – words or actions – that might make us an adversary to His will, and follow the path laid out before us.
Holy Father, thank you for including me in your plans for salvation, for me and those around me. May I see Your will in all things, and work with You in achieving Your plans, and never be one who, even with good intentions, gets in Your way.