Monday, September 11, 2023

Eternal Purposes

But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22 NLT)

Jesus knew exactly what was in His future. It came as no surprise to Him. He knew who would betray Him, He knew He would rise from the dead, and He knew exactly when these things would happen.

And at Caesarea Philippi, He began to tell His disciples what He was facing.

Matthew’s Gospel says, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (Matthew 16:21 NLT).

In the original language, Jesus used a word for “killed” that could be translated “murdered.”

Peter couldn’t believe that Jesus was saying this. In Peter’s mind, this simply couldn’t happen. It was commendable that Peter was truly concerned about the Lord. But he was missing what Jesus was trying to say. And he went too far when he took Jesus aside and “began to reprimand him,” saying, “Heaven forbid, Lord. . . . This will never happen to you!” (verse 22 NLT).

Interestingly, the word translated “reprimand” in this verse carries the idea of someone in a position of authority rebuking a subordinate. That is the way Peter began to reprimand Jesus. And the language implies that he did this repeatedly.

Imagine it for a moment. Jesus had just made a statement about His impending suffering and death. He obviously was in anguish over it. And then Peter took an authoritarian position and repeatedly began to reprimand Him. Peter had lost touch with reality.

Jesus said to him, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (verse 23 NLT).

We have to love a guy like Peter, because he was so utterly human. He said what many of us probably would have said in such a situation. He was impulsive, impetuous, and hotheaded but also very honest, courageous, and intelligent. And perhaps he was the most accessible of all the followers of Jesus.

May God help us to trust Him when He doesn’t do things the way we think He should and when we’re tempted to say, “Why, Lord?”

God is thinking of His eternal purposes. We can only see what will benefit us in this moment. But God is looking at the big picture. And He knows what He’s doing.

It is during these times that we must trust Him, cast ourselves at His feet, and say, “Lord, I admit to You that I don’t understand. I don’t know why. But I thank You that You are in control.”

There are a lot of things that will happen in life that we won’t understand. It is during those times that we must fall back on what we do understand: God loves us. And He is looking out for our best interests.

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