“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You! But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:21-23 NKJV
One of the toughest lessons to learn in life is the one that is central to everything that is Godly, the heart of the Gospel. It is sometimes easily overlooked, neglected, or unattached from so many of our usual priorities. And like Peter, we need a strong rebuke to get us back in focus.
Peter had the right answer in Matthew 16:16, but moments later he is in a state of disbelief and in need of a harsh rebuke. And there are times when we may have the right answers when the moment calls for a real connection to the heart of the Gospel.
It is possible to be in a place where we are “not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men!” During those times we may easily get caught up with agendas, activities, or priorities that are not of God. And it is sad for us like it was for Peter to be in the presence of the Lord and in the middle of His work and be caught up with ‘the things of men.’
Staying focused on the central message of the cross is the essential element above everything else in our work in the kingdom! Peter won’t ever forget and neither should we, that Jesus’ focus was redemption and resurrection. And it took Calvary and the empty tomb to get that work achieved for mankind. Like Jesus, we have to talk about it as the days unfold before us and we must live through the pain of redemption to enjoy the fruit of resurrection. The kingdom is more than business, more than organization with titles and positions; more than policies and procedures, more than structure and hierarchies, and more than strategies and methodology! The kingdom is about death, dying, suffering, sacrifice, and then glory. And the glory can only be realized after redemptive suffering.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV