From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23)
How fragile and tentative our faith!
No sooner has Jesus proclaimed Peter blessed than the capricious fisherman forgets his understanding and acts out of his own heart. Picture this, Peter grabs the Lord by the arm and takes a distance from the rest of the disciples to rebuke Him! Mere seconds after recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, Peter decides that he knows better than Creator of the Universe what needs to be done to put things right.
For Peter’s sake, Jesus does not simply smile and gently remind him that He, Jesus, must die for the restoration of right in the world. No, He gets angry and rises up in that weather worn face and puts him back with all of the others who seek to forestall His calling. Peter has committed the unthinkable in challenging the teacher and Jesus does not hesitate to grade his efforts…in love. Like every good teacher, Jesus clearly seeks to clearly point out the error in Peter’s thinking not to curse him, but to save him.
Who do you say He is? Who would Jesus say you are?