“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘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 16:22-23).

How vividly the scene of Peter’s rash rejection of the Master’s teaching is described! The apostle, full of eager love, swift to speak, and driven by unexamined impulse, lays his hand upon Christ and draws Him aside and begins to pour out words that show he has forgotten his confession. “Rebuke” must not be softened down into anything less vehement or more disrespectful. He believes he knows better than Jesus what will happen. But Peter is not allowed to finish what he began, for the Master, whom he loved unwisely, but well, turns His back on him, as in horror, and shows by the terrible severity of His rebuke how deeply moved He is. He repels the hint in almost the same words as He had used to the tempter in the wilderness.

So, possible it is to fall from sunny heights to doleful depths! So little can any divine inspiration be permanent if the man turns away from it to set his affections on the things of his desire!

So, Peter’s words were full of unrestrained emotion, and such words from his loving lips did affect Jesus. Let us note that the complete truth about Christ must include these two parts: His divine nature and His Messiahship — and that neither alone is the gospel. A disciple, as Christ desires, clings to both with mind and heart.

Adapted from In His Presence