Get Behind Me Satan
Sunday Sermon, 31 August 2014 @9am
Get Behind Me Satan — Bill Davey, Elder at B.B.P
St. Matthew 16: 21 ― 27 (New International Version)
Information sourced from the websites: “Meditation for Christians” and “Association of Hebrew Catholics in New Zealand”
From the time of creation Father God has desired a family. Sons and daughters, [You and Me] as family members;
Brothers and sisters, [You and Me] to Jesus, our Lord. Yes, at this time He wants us as Disciples to His One and only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Living Word, the Torah.
Discipleship means training ― that is our topic today ― and so to our:
Prayer and Introduction
Father God We are here to worship you and listen to your Son Jesus who is the Living Word.
Help us ― help me ― to listen, to learn, and to live to please You; as the Holy Spirit guides our hearts and minds today.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, O Lord, this morning.
In this message I trust we can see that our Lord came to build the family of God by equipping his disciples with His own ability to renew, restore and serve the people.
First: We will try to connect with the Scripture from last Sunday, when Peter spoke his Divine revelation to Jesus.
Secondly: We will reflect upon the Gospel reading of today and follow the three prophetic declarations made by Jesus to His disciples .
Thirdly: I hope we will discover that these prophecies remain the core of training for and of present day disciples
“Get Behind Me Satan”
[Basic discipleship training course 101]
At Church last Sunday we referred briefly to a key conversation that took place at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus was in private conversation with His disciples
“Who am I, according to what the people are saying?
Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
We catch a rare glimpse of Jesus being excited. “Blessed are you… you are the rock on which I will build my Church. My Father has revealed this to you”. How wonderful!
Now we move to the reading this week beginning with verse 21.
21 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.
Verse 21 is not presented as a quotation from Jesus, but as a summary statement looking back years later, as to how our Lord saw His purpose in going to Jerusalem.
On this occasion, Jesus has obviously given clear reference to His need to fulfill His Father’s plan, and to undergo whatever suffering comes to Him.
This reference amounts to an open declaration that He must suffer.
There are three groups of people in the background of this account who are determined to make sure He does just that. They are: Elders; Chief Priests and Scribes (Teachers of the Law).
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
“Spare Yourself, be merciful to yourself Lord.” In other words, “Why let yourself be dragged through all that when you don’t need to!” He seems to want Jesus to exert power on His own behalf for once. Unwittingly, he confronts Jesus with the temptation to be Messiah by some other path than God’s holy will.
Peter has raised an opposition against the will of God — preventing ultimately the destruction of Satan’s rule. In a strictly verbal way, Jesus reacts violently to Peter’s earnest but improper suggestion:
23 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.”
What can so easily be missed in this rabbinic type of situation is that the Messiah, here, is actually saying: “Come on Rock! Think like God, not like some grubby little bit of gravel caught inside your sandal! Wake up. We’ve got big things to do!”
We also need to remember that this account would never have been recorded by the other apostles, nor told by them, had not Peter himself insisted they tell it exactly as it occurred. This was the nature of their relationship.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
The call to take up one’s cross and follow Jesus is an outright demand to be prepared to sacrifice everything for the Lord God’s sake, and follow Jesus
as the way to the Father.
Harsh though this may sound, it is, in fact, the pathway to the fullest possible enjoyment of life, as our Lord goes on to explain.
25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus concludes his instruction with an apocalyptic vision that we would do well to hold in our thinking:
What can we learn from the efforts of Peter the Apostle?
[Remember we only know of his failings because he reported them]
However we know
― he lost his focus on His Lord, when on the water;
― he challenged the purpose and will of God;
― he even betrayed his beloved Jesus, on the night
of his arrest.
And yet our Lord never gave up on him!
Be encouraged because our Lord won’t give up on us, either
provided we keep trying and do our best!
In part I of our reading, Jesus explained some of the deeper meaning and purpose of His coming as Messiah: to suffer, die and rise from the dead.
In part II, He declared in plain language that all who choose to be His followers have to do the same — not just give up their life for Him, but share His CROSS with Him. Now that takes some thinking through.
Now in part III our Lord proclaims His Glorious Return with His Angel Hosts and with the power and majesty of His Father (See Matt. 24: 30). In the midst of all this, Jesus will repay everyone according to “his conduct,” or “his works” or “what he has done” (depending on translation). (See Psalm 62: 12 and Matt. 25: 34 — 46).
And, remember to be encouraged
because our Lord won’t give up on us, either,
provided we keep trying and do our best!
And, like clay in the Potter’s hands be malleable
and trust the Lord for His perfect outcome!