Decision-Week 1 // Jesus Predicts His Death // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Matthew 16:21-28 (NIV)

Dear Church,

“Get behind me Satan, you are a stumbling block to me.  You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23)

Jesus says a lot of shocking things, but this has to be one of the most jaw-dropping. And he doesn’t say it to the Pharisees or Sadducees or a hostile crowd.  He doesn’t even say it to actual Satan when the devil is tempting him in the desert.  He reserves these words for Peter, one of his closest followers.  And he says it to him immediately after Peter is the first disciple to recognize him as messiah and son of God.

These are harsh words.

But we have entered into the harsh and holy season of Lent.  For centuries, believers have set apart these 40(ish) days before Easter for prayer and contemplation and spiritual seeking.  Because the gospels show us clearly, it is hard to follow Jesus and easy to oppose him. Knowing who Jesus is, claiming him as Lord, even loving him is not enough. Jesus says, if we want to follow him we must–we must–deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him.

The road to the cross is the road to glory and salvation–but it doesn’t seem like it until we have our minds set on the things of God.  And it is dangerously and deceptively easy to follow Jesus with our minds fixed on human concerns.

Jesus wasn’t being mean to Peter, he was being truthful.  The devil offered Jesus a way to gain the whole world while avoiding the cross.  And that’s exactly what Peter was trying to talk Jesus into when Jesus called him Satan.  Peter was Sur the cross was a waste and a trap.  He was sure there was another, better way. But there is no salvation without the cross. Not for Jesus and not for us.  Lent is a time to figure out what it looks like, not to believe in the cross, but to pick it up and walk with it.

But there is good news (because the gospel is always good news). Jesus tells the Devil to get away from him, but that’s not what he says to Peter.  Jesus tells Peter to get behind him–and that’s exactly where a follower belongs.


Pastor Kate

Want to chat about what you have heard? Click here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *