Photo courtesy of LoveSingapore
No disciple ever received a harsher rebuke.
In an instant, Peter drops from top student to “Satan”. From building block to stumbling block.
The Greek word for hindrance in Matthew 16:22 is scandalon. This is the origin of the English word scandal or scandalize. But this hardly conveys Jesus’ meaning.
A scandalon is literally a trap stick. That is, a device that triggers a trap. This word is used as a metaphor for whatever causes a person to trip and fall into sin.
For example, Satan set traps for Jesus in the desert at the start of His public ministry. He tempted Jesus to take power by the wrong path.
It’s no surprise, then, that Satan should return and reset the trap for Jesus (Luke 4:13). But what is most shocking about this time, is that Peter becomes the trigger!
Of all people, Peter the Rock. The first disciple. The Senior Apostle. The right hand man of Jesus tries to get Him to evade His Cross. In so doing, Peter sides, not only with men, but also with the antichrist: Get behind Me, Satan.
Your destiny is not where you are going. It’s what you are becoming along the way.
Jesus didn’t say: Peter, you annoy Me. Or you irritate Me. But, you are a stumbling block to Me. Disciples, beware: It is a grave offence to try and talk a person out of his or her cross. It would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and dropped into the South China Sea.
So, who is this Peter? Is he Simon? Cephas? Satan? Or Scandal? Is he a rock or a roadblock? A help or a hindrance?
It seems incredible that a man can be a mouthpiece of heaven one minute, and a mouthpiece of hell the next. But this should not surprise us. It happens more often than you know.
So the question we need to ask ourselves today is not Who is Peter but Who am I? What am I? Your destiny is not where you are going. It’s what you are becoming along the way.
The things of men are always at odds with the things of God. Peter’s misunderstanding plagues us all. It’s a fundamentally flawed idea about greatness, about how God accomplishes His purpose in our life and world.
Are you minding the things of God or the things of men?
- Stop and think. Are you minding the things of God or the things of men? The mind set on the things of men is hostile towards God (Romans8:7). It will trip you up sooner or later.
Imagine Jesus buying into Peter’s thinking: Maybe you’re right, Peter. Why should I suffer and die for guilty sinners? There might be another way. Perhaps My moral example, more teaching, and bigger miracles would be enough to change the world, reform the human race, and point them back to God. Let’s look further into this.
But thank God, Jesus did not fall for Satan’s trap set through Peter.
Cry out to the Lord: Save me! I do not want to become a stumbling block, causing others to miss Your purpose for their lives. Spare me from Satan’s traps. Secure me in Your victory.
I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies. I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief … I raise a hallelujah with everything inside of me (Bethel Music).
- Scan your mind. Think you know better how to live the Kingdom life? Do you have a skewed vision of what it means to follow Jesus? Are you after the crown but not the cross?
Renounce all pride, presumption, and preconceived ideas that distort your image of Jesus and His ways. Resist the temptation to sort spiritual things into logical categories so that they make sense to your finite mind.
For your own good and for the sake of God’s name in Singapore, determine to be a disciple who is rooted in His Word and taught by His Spirit. Pray likewise for fellow believers.
May we return to the Word, renew our minds, and discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). May we rightly represent Christ in thought, word, and deed – in private and in public, online and offline. Always. Amen!
- Search your heart. Your intentions may be good, but have you become a mouthpiece of Satan?
Dear Parent, have you ever talked your children out of the Cross and the will of God (e.g. pioneer missions) for selfish reasons and unfounded fears?
Dear Mentor, have you dissuaded a disciple from pursuing a God-given dream (eg. school-planting in a war zone) because it sounded ridiculous or reckless to you?
Dear Marketplace Leader, have you incited your peers to seek retribution even though Jesus strictly prohibits retaliation?
May we all commit to change our ways. Ask God to convict and chastise us whenever we contradict His Word, ignore His will, and evade our cross.
- Scrutinise your walk. You may be a church founder or a lead pastor or a sought-after Bible teacher. Whatever your calling, God forbid that you should become so full of self that you lose sight of the things of God.
Your cool ideas may well be a trick of Satan. Have you cheapened something sacred in the name of relevance? Repent. Ask God to deliver you from deception. May you never play into the enemy’s hand and oppose God’s purpose in Singapore.
Read the devotional from Day 10, July 10: Peter’s confusion here.