Imagine going from being dux of the class to the bottom of the class through making one big mistake. That’s what Peter did in this story. At one moment he is hailed as proclaiming an amazing truth that not many people had come to know. When Jesus had asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” He had responded, “You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God.” Jesus had replied, Mat 16:17 “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.” That is, “Peter you have been the recipient of a divine revelation. God has spoken the truth about Me through you.” What was the big mistake that Peter made soon after that? We see it in Mark 8:32 (with more detail in Matthew 16:23).
1). God’s Will For Jesus Was Made Known. Mark 8:31. Jesus told His disciples what He had come to do as the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. Mar 8:31-32, Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly.
Jesus had come to be a suffering servant, one who would bear the punishment for the sins of the people on His own body. He would be fulfilling all the Old Testament prophecies that foretold a suffering servant type of Messiah. One of these well-known passages is in Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Jesus as the Messiah would die for the sin of His people.
2). A Human Objection To God’s Will For Jesus. 8:32. Here was Peter’s chance to again be a mouthpiece from God. Instead of that he muffed it. He got it all wrong. He disagreed publicly with his master Jesus. Matthew records in more detail what happened. Mat 16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” He didn’t want to see Jesus suffer and die. He wanted a Messiah, a Christ who would become a ruler in the land. He didn’t want a Messiah who would be slain for sinners. It must never, ever happen, said Peter!
Was Jesus pleased with this strong support from Peter? No! We see how Jesus dealt with the objector and his tempting words. Mat 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Mat 16:22-23. It’s as though Jesus was saying to Peter, Peter, you have just been a mouthpiece for God. Now you have become a mouthpiece for Satan the deceiver, the liar. You are trying to tempt me, to stop me from doing what God sent me to do. Peter had got right the truth about the person of the Messiah. It was Jesus. But he had completely misunderstood the role Jesus as the Messiah had come to play, as a suffering servant.
How about ourselves? Haven’t there been times when we have said something that really proved to be a great blessing to the people who heard us? Then we mucked it all up by saying something that was inappropriate or hurt someone deeply. No wonder many people pray, “Lord set a guard over my lips that I may speak only what You want me to speak.”
3). God’s Will For Us Is Made Known By Jesus. 8:34-37. Jesus moved from talking about God’s will for Him, to telling His disciples about God’s will for His people. They were meant to become His disciples. Mar 8:34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Humans have a choice. They can make wrong choices in life as Jesus said in Mark 8:35, For whoever would save his life will lose it. Those who want to live their lives on their own terms are the losers. There is no eternal gain in that choice, (36) For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?37) Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Life wasn’t mean to be lived in that selfish, self-focussed way.
Humans are meant to make right choices. Losers (of their own lives) save them. (35) those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. That’s what life is all about. It’s about getting into the centre of the will of God for us. It’s about becoming followers of Jesus, following His teaching and His example. It’s about dying to self so that we might come alive to Jesus. It’s about doing the will of God for us and not our own will.
4). The Consequences Of Rejecting God’s Will For Us. 8:38. Jesus tells us what are the consequences of rejecting Him and rejecting the will of God for us. He said that if we reject Him now, He will reject us when He comes again in glory. (38) Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Why do people reject Jesus? Don’t they have a right to make up their own minds about Him? Not really. If they are the creatures of a Creator then they have no “rights” before Him. Creatures can’t dictate terms to their Creator. They can only take hold of the “privileges” He longs to bestow on them. Jesus is not only the Saviour. He is also the Creator of everything that exists. In rejecting Jesus as Saviour they are also rejecting their Creator.
The other thing to note is that people are not really free to make the spiritual choices they should. They are spiritually blind. Satan has blinded their eyes so that they cannot recognise who He is. 2Cor 4:4 the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Unfortunately many people are proud of the fact that they can call themselves “atheists”. They have looked at the world and concluded that God doesn’t exist. But in doing so they are simply affirming the truth that God has told us in His word, they are spiritually blind and they cannot see or understand. Jesus is irrelevant to them because of their spiritual blindness and bondage to Satan. Every time they cry, “There is no God!” they are simply making public their spiritual blindness. A simple definition of “atheist” and “agnostic” is “Someone who hasn’t met Jesus yet.”
We need to pray that people’s eyes are opened to see Jesus as He really is. We need to pray that people will respond to Him in faith. Jesus’ coming is certain. Nothing and no one can prevent it. None can escape it. In the light of that we need to look at the table below. On the left hand side we could place the names of all those who at present have no time for Jesus or for God. We can start less personally and then move down the column to those who are closest to us. We then look to the right hand column and see what will happen to them when Jesus returns, unless they repent of sin and believe in Jesus. Jesus has told us what is going to happen when He comes. We may not like it. We may not want to accept it. We might try to rationalise and give all the reasons why Jesus should accept them because they are such “lovely people”. But it doesn’t change reality. This IS what is going to happen when He comes. Two thousand years of warning by their Creator (and potential Saviour) should be enough for any creature to investigate and act on.
|Names of those who at present are rejecting God or who are ashamed of Him. (As Jesus said in Mark 8:38)||Names of those whom Jesus will reject when He comes again in glory. (Unless they repent and believe in Jesus).|
|John Citizen||John Citizen|
|My best friend?||My best friend?|
|A close relative?||A close relative?|
What we can do in Christian love and concern for those who are perishing. There are a number of things we can do for them.
i). Recognise that they ARE lost. (That is not a value judgment we place on them. Rather God wants us to see them as He sees them in their great need.)
ii). Recognise that they ARE in the power of the evil one (blinded by him) and need to be set free. 2Cor 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. The worst thing about being deceived is that you don’t realise it until you come out of the deception. The worst thing about being spiritually blind is that you can’t see that you are, until the “light is switched on” by receiving Jesus (the light of the world), as Saviour.
iii). Recognise that Jesus has defeated the powers of darkness in His death on the cross and that humans can walk in His victory. Paul affirmed in Colossians 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. We claim that victory in our own lives. We need to claim it in the lives of those for whom we pray.
A Suggested Prayer For Others. (Perhaps by putting down the names of loved ones, friends and others in that left hand column and praying for them until they receive Jesus as Saviour and submit to Him as their Lord. Then we can know that their names have been removed from the right hand column of those whom Jesus will reject when He comes.)
Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have opened our eyes to recognise Jesus Your Son as our Saviour and Lord. We pray for all those who are still in the darkness and ignorance of sin. We recognise that Jesus has overcome the powers of darkness and can bring them light and life. We claim that victory over the evil one and pray that You would set the captives free. Open their eyes to see Jesus alone as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Enable them by Your Holy Spirit to open their hearts to receive Jesus as Saviour and to submit to Him as Lord. We ask these things so that you may be glorified in our lives and in the lives of all for whom we pray. In Jesus’ name. AMEN
Blog No.063. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Sunday 4th March 2012