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Did Peter become a satan?

Query for the Month


March 2004

Next up-date: April 1st 2004 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
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Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.  An animated dove It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!


Matthew 16:

20 Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ.

21 From that time forth began Jesus to show to His disciples, how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took [hold of] Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from You, LORD: this shall not be to You.” 23 But He turned, and said to Peter, “Get you behind Me, Satan: you are an offence to Me: for you savour not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

Why did He call His beloved disciple, “Satan”?   


Jesus did not really charge Peter with being Satan (the adversary) for He is NOT an "accuser of the brethren" as Satan is.  See Revelation 12:9.  Nor did He intend that we should think that Peter was standing in for Satan.  Being able to see with a spiritual eye, Jesus knew that it was earthliness which brought forth Peter’s outburst, and so He spoke directly to the prince of this world who was now standing between Him and Peter.

After Peter's confession that Jesus was the Rock on which the church was built, Jesus charged the disciples to tell no man that He was the Christ (Messiah).  This prohibition was given because of the determined opposition of the scribes and Pharisees.  More than this, the people, and even the disciples, had so false a conception of the Messiah that a public announcement of Him would give them no true idea of His character or His work.  But day-by-day He was revealing Himself to them as the Saviour, and in this way He desired to give them a true conception of Him as the Messiah. 

The disciples still expected Christ to reign as a earthly prince and conquer the Romans.  Although He had so long concealed His design, they believed that He would not always remain in poverty and obscurity; they thought that the time was near when He would establish His kingdom.  That the hatred of the priests and rabbis would never be overcome, that Christ would be rejected by His own nation, condemned as a deceiver, and crucified as a criminal, such a thought the disciples had never entertained.  But the hour of the power of darkness was drawing on, and Jesus must open to His disciples the conflict before them.  He was sad as He anticipated the trial.  

Before this He had refrained from making known to them anything relating to His sufferings and death.  In His conversation with Nicodemus He had said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15.  But the disciples had not heard this, and had they heard, would not have understood.  But now they had been with Jesus, listening to His words, beholding His works, until, notwithstanding the humility of His surroundings, and the opposition of priests and people, they could join in the testimony of Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16.  Now the time had come for the veil that hid the future to be withdrawn.  “From that time forth began Jesus to show to His disciples, how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”  Verse 20.

Speechless with grief and amazement, the disciples listened.  Christ had accepted Peter's acknowledgment of Him as the Son of God; and now His words pointing to His suffering and death seemed incomprehensible.  Peter could not keep silent.  He laid hold upon his Master, as if to draw Him back from His impending doom, exclaiming, “Be it far from You, LORD: this shall not be to You.” Verse 22.

Peter loved his LORD; but Jesus did not commend him for thus manifesting the desire to shield Him from suffering.  Peter's words were not such as would be a help and solace to Jesus in the great trial before Him.  They were not in harmony with God's purpose of grace toward a lost world, nor with the lesson of self-sacrifice that Jesus had come to teach by His own example.  Peter was avoiding the cross in the work of Christ. 

The impression which his words would make was directly opposed to that which Christ desired to make on the minds of His followers, and the Saviour was moved to utter one of the sternest rebukes that ever fell from His lips: “Get you behind Me, Satan: you are an offence to Me: for you savour [understand] not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

Satan was trying to discourage Jesus, and turn Him from His mission; and Peter, in his blind love, was giving voice to the temptation. But the prince of evil was the author of the thought.  His instigation was behind that impulsive appeal. 

In the wilderness, Satan had offered Christ the dominion of the world on condition of forsaking the path of humiliation and sacrifice.  Matthew 4:8-10.  Now he was presenting the same temptation to the disciple of Christ.  He was seeking to fix Peter's gaze upon the earthly glory, that he might not behold the cross to which Jesus desired to turn his eyes.  And through Peter, Satan was again pressing the temptation upon Jesus.  But the Saviour did not heed it; His thought was for His disciple.  Satan had interposed between Peter and his Master, that the heart of the disciple might not be touched at the vision of Christ's humiliation for him.  The words of Christ were spoken, not to Peter, but to the one who was trying to separate him from his Redeemer.  “Get you behind Me, Satan. No longer get between Me and My erring servant.  Let Me come face to face with Peter, that I may reveal to him the mystery of My love.”

It was to Peter a bitter lesson, and one which he learned but slowly, that the path of Christ on earth lay through agony and humiliation. 

The disciple shrank from fellowship with his LORD in suffering.  But in the heat of the furnace fire he was to learn its blessing.  Long afterward, when his active form was bowed with the burden of years and labours, he wrote, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.

Jesus now explained to His disciples that His own life of selflessness was an example of what theirs should be.  Calling about Him, with the disciples, the people who had been lingering near, He said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily [continually], and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24.  The cross was associated with the power of Rome.  It was the instrument of the most cruel and humiliating form of death.  The lowest criminals were required to bear the cross to the place of execution; and often as it was about to be laid upon their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence, until they were overpowered, and the instrument of torture was bound upon them.

But Jesus bade His followers take up the cross and bear it after Him willingly. 

To the disciples His words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to the most bitter humiliation – submission even to death for the sake of Christ.  No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour's words have pictured.  But all this He had accepted for them.  Jesus did not count heaven a place to be desired while we were lost.  See Philippians 2:5-8. He left the heavenly courts for a life of reproach and insult, and a death of shame.  He who was rich in heaven's priceless treasure, became poor, that through His poverty we might be rich.  We are to follow in the path He trod.  

Love for souls for whom Christ died means crucifixion of self. 

He or she who is a child of God should always look upon themselves as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ in His plan of mercy, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost.  The Christian is ever to realize that he/she has consecrated their self to God, and that in character he/she is to reveal Christ to the world.  The self-sacrifice, the sympathy, the love, manifested in the life of Christ are to reappear in the life of the worker for God.  

“Whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” He says. Verse 25.

Selfishness is death. 

No organ of the body could live should it confine its service to itself.  The heart, failing to send its lifeblood to the hand and the head, would quickly lose its power.  As our lifeblood, so is the love of Christ diffused through every part of His mystical body.  We are members one of another, and the soul that refuses to impart will perish.  And “what is a man profited,” said Jesus, “if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Verse 26.

And that’s what that little episode was about!


It is Satan's plan to persuade Christians to use emotion as the ruling power in their lives, and relegate reason to a back seat.  God's way, however, is that reason should direct and emotion follow.  Thus, that which can appear horrifying, may be the sensible way to go.  In this case, Jesus needed to obey His father and allow Himself to be sacrificed at Calvary because through this experience He could reach many who would not be approached in any other way.  Peter's attempt to turn Jesus from His path was really to deny God's way.  

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from April 1st 2004.

Isaiah 55:

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Does this mean that God will never work with our ideas? 

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