There are some puzzling Bible stories of what Jesus did, like turning tables of money changers and telling Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan!’ It’s a bit shocking to hear Jesus reacting this way but when we look at the stories a bit closer, we find deep wisdom in them. Today I want to talk about the latter story. It will help us to understand the importance of embracing God’s perspective.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of 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, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 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.” (Matthew 16:21-23, NRSV,*)
This was the first time Jesus prophesied his death and it clearly upset Peter who had just declared Jesus Messiah. Peter wanted to protect Jesus from suffering but he did not understand that without Jesus’ death on the cross, he would die in his sins. Without knowing it, Peter tried to prevent God’s salvation plan to become reality. And that’s why Jesus talked so harshly to him.
Peter looked at things from a human being’s perspective. So he did not like the idea of Jesus suffering and that’s why he reprimanded Jesus. But looking at things from human beings’ perspective gives us a very narrow view, therefore we don’t understand the big picture. Only God does. That’s why we need to lean on God to get the right view.
Satan tries to get us to forget God’s perspective. He wants us to stick to our human perspective which leads very often astray. When we forget God’s perspective, we easily choose things according to our own wants and whims instead of God’s plan and will for us.
Avoiding suffering and choosing comfort is very often the way we (or the people who love us) would like things to go for us. But God’s will often takes us away from comfort and can include suffering in order to bless us more.
In order to grow in faith and keep on following Christ, we need to keep on embracing God’s perspective. How can we do that? By surrendering to God daily. When we remember who is God and who is not, embracing God’s perspective becomes a blessed and fruitful way of life.
We surrender to you.
Forgive us for thinking from our own perspective
and trusting our own instincts.
Enable us to live from your perspective
and lean on your understanding.
Thank you that your Word banishes evil from our lives.
Be praised forever and ever!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What do you think – does embracing God’s perspective really make a difference?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace what God is doing in and through your life!