April 24, 2021
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matthew 16:22).
Peter’s response to the words of Jesus reveal certain attitudes and questions that still plague most people today. Was Peter really listening to Jesus? He heard Jesus say He had to go to Jerusalem, suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, and be killed. Did he not hear Jesus say He had to be resurrected as well? If Peter had heard Jesus, did he let his emotions get the best of him so that he couldn’t accept them? Did his faith not allow him to believe that His resurrection would follow His crucifixion? Peter had seen Jesus raise people from the dead (Jairus’ daughter, the son of the widow woman of Nain, Lazarus in Bethany). Who would raise Jesus from the dead?
Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16). Was he still expecting Jesus to be a conquering Messiah that would deliver Israel from Rome, and how could that happen if He allowed Himself to be killed? Regardless of the mental, emotional, or spiritual trauma Peter experienced, there is no excusing his response to Jesus.
The word ‘rebuke’ is a strong word. It means to judge harshly and with authority. Because it is an infinitive verb, it indicates that Peter rebuked Jesus repeatedly for what He said. Certainly something incredible had to have happened in Peter’s mind, heart, and spirit for him to ‘get in the face’ of the Son of God, and something did!
Before we ‘open a can of whoop-up’ on Peter for rebuking Jesus like he did, we need to take a long look in the spiritual mirror ourselves. Don’t we walk in Peter’s sandals from time to time ourselves? Yet there is danger here where we walk. Peter showed no fear in speaking this rebuke to Jesus, demonstrating the reality of their intimate relationship as men. But it was out of line. Friend or no friend, Jesus was, and is the Son of God, the Lord of creation, God in flesh. We tend to lose sight of this even in our own lives.
In the 60s and early 70s, during the ‘Jesus movement’, young people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ by the thousands, but their attitude toward Jesus was disrespectful. I still remember the dismay I had when new Christians would talk about Jesus being their ‘buddy’ and God being ‘the man upstairs’.
Even today, do we not praise the Lord for the many blessings He gives us, but then question Him when those blessings seem to be withheld? When even the poorest among us fairs far better than most people in 3rd world countries, do we not complain that that Lord has not prospered us like we deserve? When we experience joy we believe it to be our right as a child of God, but when tragedy, heartache, and sorrow is our portion are we not inclined to doubt our Lord’s love for us?
“Father, forgive us for our rebukes when pride and spiritual arrogance replaces the humility we are to have before You and those around us. Forgive me, Lord. Amen.”