Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
l) Jesus First Prediction of His Death and Resurrection
(Matthew 16:21-28)
21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.22Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew12:40, Mark8:31-33, Luke9:22, John2:19)


After Peter’s famous confession, Jesus delivered His disciples from the hope hidden in their hearts, that He would establish a political Christian state and control all the kingdoms of the world. He told them publicly that His people would deny Him, and the elders of the Jews would reject Him and plot against Him. He would suffer bitterly and die in a terrible way. His imminent death was at hand, and the worldly hopes and expectation of the disciples had to come to an end.
From that time, Christ began to foretell and openly speak of His sufferings. He had already given some hints of his sufferings when he said, “Destroy this temple,” and when He spoke of “the Son of Man being lifted up.” But now He began to show it, plainly and expressly. Prior to this, He had not talked about it, because the disciples were weak and could not bear the announcement of something so strange and sad. Now that they were more mature in knowledge and stronger in faith, He began to tell them the reality. Christ reveals His mind to His people gradually and lets in light as they can bear it and are fit to receive it.
This revelation was like a bomb at a wedding. After Peter’s testimony that Christ is the Son of God and Jesus’ unhesitating acceptance of this title, the disciples thought of a political triumph over the Romans lead by Christ. Instead they shocked with the revelation of Christ’s sufferings and deadly fate that He declares to them.
Jesus continued His prophecy and showed them the secret of His power and the greatness of His victory. He will not die as other men but will truly rise from the dead and appear bodily, that His teaching concerning the reality of His kingdom may be clearly seen.
Christ’s glory was hidden, and His spiritual plans were not easily apparent to the minds of men. Peter did not recognize the necessity of Jesus’ sufferings, because he, like the rest of his nation, did not understand the unavoidable atoning death of Christ on behalf of men as the only way to God. The confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is the key of heaven. Christ was revealing that the cross is the doorway into which the key is put in order to reach heaven.
Peter took Jesus aside. He was upset and disturbed. Although Peter had called Him, “Lord,” he began to rebuke Him, expressing that: it is impossible for you to think of death; we believe that You will triumph over the world, so how can You draw back and speak pessimistically about defeat and destruction? Perhaps Peter did not listen carefully to the end of what was said when Jesus spoke about His resurrection. Peter saw the abyss of death like a grave opened to wipe out all His hope, and wanted to influence Jesus by force not to go to the cross, but escape it.
Satan had already tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness. This time, Satan used Peter, the speaker of the disciples, because he became proud when his Lord blessed him. The devil sought to use Peter to keep Jesus from the cross. But Jesus immediately discerned the tempter’s voice, rebuked him severely, and drove him away saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are bringing wrong human hopes in opposition to God’s thought.”
Every thought that is not founded in the cross, is of no value. He who does not accept the cross as the only way to God is lost.
This judgment against Peter shows us that the basis of the church is not founded upon his person or his character, but upon the Spirit of God working through his bold testimony. Jesus wanted to purify and deepen the knowledge of the apostles so that the disciples might understand that the Son of God had come to die. It was through His death for us that He would build His kingdom with redeemed sinners, for without the blood of Jesus Christ there is no way to God.

Prayer
We worship You, Holy Lamb of God, because You did not choose the comfortable or easy way, but You chose the death of the despised cross. You did not listen for one second to the tempting voice of Satan through Peter. Deliver us too from our human thinking, and open our eyes that we may see salvation in your cross alone, and that we may confess Your death as God’s triumph over our sins. Forgive us all our sins that we may rejoice in Your death, thanking You for our justification. We glorify You for the salvation of those who believe in You. Accept our lives in gratitude for Your love.
Question
What did Jesus mean by calling Peter, “Satan!”?