In Mark chapter eight Peter makes a monumental profession of faith in Jesus. When asked by Jesus who did they, His disciples, say that He was Peter retorted that Jesus was the Christ. Christ means that Jesus is God’s very own Son, and God in the flesh sent into the world as the Messiah [the Savior] to save people from their sins. Peter made a monumental truth statement with his mouth here, yet a few verses later in verse 32 Peter makes a monumental ignorant statement with his mouth.
In verse thirty-one Jesus instructs His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem where He will be rejected, persecuted, and ultimately killed by the Jewish leaders. However He would also rise again from death three days later. Peter then takes Jesus to the side and begins to rebuke Him for this. Matthew records that Peter rebuked Jesus by saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You. (Matt 16:22).”
Jesus’ rebuke of Peter for this statement was sharp. He referred to Peter as Satan and accused Peter of not having his mind set on God’s will, but man’s will. Why such a harsh tone by Jesus? It is not that Peter was literally Satan, but that in that moment Peter was allowing his mind to follow after Satan’s desires. Jesus’ rebuke was just because Peter had spoken the will of God earlier by calling Jesus the Christ, now Peter speaks the will of Satan by telling Jesus He cannot go to the cross and die for sins.
Peter had focused not on what God’s plan was, but on what he thought God’s plan should be. Peter believed Jesus should go to Jerusalem and forcefully use His divine powers to cast out the evil and corruption of the Jewish system. The disciples did not understand how Jesus could say that He must go and allow Himself to be captured and killed. They ignored that this was God’s plan from the beginning that Jesus go, die, and rise again. They ignored how Jesus had been saying He would rise again three days later after His death. They were focused on what they had already determined must be the best plan rather than on what God’s plan for Jesus was.
Jesus’ rebuke rings true today. We can study the Bible, learn much, and be awed at the awesomeness of God. However we can also make the error of Peter by not truly seeking God’s will and desires. We may substitute what we think God’s will should be for what God’s will really is.
Pray for and seek after humility in your daily walk with the Lord so that you can always be focused on what God’s desires are rather than your own. Just because you think something is the right plan, does not mean God desires it. Are you setting your mind on God’s interests or man’s interests? Are you seeking the Lord’s will or assuming that your will is the Lord’s will also? What should you do today to ensure you are seeking after the interests of God rather than the interests of men?