12/19/16 Satan's Deception

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Matt. 16:23

Morning Meditation 12/19/16

Verse 23 says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

There was probably never a rebuke more deeply wounding than this one that Peter received from the Lord. Jesus had just complimented Peter on his confession in verse sixteen. In answer to the question, who do you think I am? Peter had said, “. . . Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To which the Lord replied, “. . . Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus said, “Peter you just got that confession from My Father in heaven.” Can’t you just see Peter swell with pride? I think he must have been taking credit for that brilliant utterance. It is so easy for the Adamic man to take credit for what God is doing. Am I questioning Peter’s sincerity? Absolutely not. There was not a more sincere man in the group than Peter. But if we learn one thing in the Scripture, we learn that a man can be sincerely wrong. If one is wrong, his sincerity with not bridge the gap between truth and error. The penalty is the same.

After Peter’s confession, Jesus began to explain to the disciples how He would go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the chief priests and scribes and be killed and raised again the third day (vs. 21). This was more than Peter could stand. As a result of the Lord’s revelation of His suffering and death, verse 22 says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter didn’t want to see Jesus suffer. He was willing to put his life on the line to prevent it. He as so turned off by this revelation that the verse says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him . . .” The word “took” translates “proslambano,” and means “to take to one's self, to take as one's companion.” The verb form is an aorist middle participle. The aorist tense can mean that he grabbed him. It is a point tense and refers to a sudden act, i.e., he took Him to the side for some brotherly instructions. The definition suggests that he spoke to Jesus as a companion, i.e., possibly an equal. Jesus is not an equal and doesn’t need our opinion. He already knows what is going to happen and how it will be accomplished. The word “began” translates “archomai” and means, “to be the first to do anything.” It is found 84 times in the New Testament. It is the word that is used in John 8:9: “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, BEGINNING at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” (Caps mine for emphasis). Does this mean that the others were lined up to do the same as Peter was the first to do? If so, they were suddenly stopped by our Lord’s rebuke of Peter.

The words “to rebuke” translate “epitimao” and means, “to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely.” It is hard to believe that Peter would do this. But we have to remember that though the disciples have taken Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they are in the process of learning about His deity and the fulness of His knowledge. Jesus didn’t take the advice of anyone when He was on earth.. Jesus was and is the truth about everything. Peter will learn this a lesson at a time. Can’t you just see the other disciples about to open their mouths and make the same statement that Peter did, and Jesus says to him, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men?” I can just hear some of the others say, “Man, am I ever glad I kept my mouth shut!”

Peter did rebuke the Lord and said, “ . . . this shall not happen unto thee.” This will never happen! Jesus said it would and Peter attempted to correct Him by saying that it wouldn’t. But it did happen exactly like Jesus said it would. This is a very important point. There was never a more sincere man than Peter at this point. You can charge Peter with being wrong and you would be right. But to charge him with insincerity would be wrong. There are times when we could not be more sincere, and yet, we become mouth pieces of the devil.

Our text says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan . . .” He said this because Peter opposed the crucifixion. Jesus looked at Peter and called him Satan, or, He looked at Peter and addressed Satan who was there and the author of what Peter had said. I’ll go with the last. Satan was present. He could not be seen. He was able to put his ideas into Peter’s mind. And what Satan planted in Peter’s mind was in complete harmony with Peter’s fallen nature. He loved the Lord. He didn’t want to see Him suffer. He was willing to die for Him. He believed he could prevent what Jesus was saying from happening. But what he had to learn was the death and resurrection of Jesus was the will of God. Jesus came to suffer and die. It was necessary for the redemption of mankind. So in his ignorance of the will of God in this matter, as sincere as he could be, he became a spokesman for the devil opposing the will of God for Christ. Peter survived this public rebuke.. A lot of Christians cannot tolerate being rebuked and told they are wrong when they are sincerely doing what they think is right. Read this carefully: if you are going to grow into spiritual maturity you must submit to his same kind of rebuke. IT WILL HAPPEN. Do we love the Lord enough to take His rebukes and admit that we opened our mouths when we shouldn’t? Can we survive the embarrassment and learn that we are always wrong when we argue with the WILL OF GOD?

Jesus said to Peter, “ . . . for thou art an offence unto me . . .” The word “offence” translates “skandalon” and means “the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick.” I used to make and set traps to catch rabbits. I caught many of them. I built a box and had a trap door that would fall behind the rabbit once he entered the box to get the food I had left for him. The movable stick was in the way so that he had to trip it on his way to the bait. If he entered that box and went after the bait, I had a rabbit. Jesus recognized that Satan had set a trap for Him, and Peter was the trip stick in the trap. Jesus didn’t trip the stick. He told Peter that he had allowed Satan to make him into a trip stick. A dedicated saint of God can be made a trip stick by Satan to trap others in the work of the Lord.

Let me illustrate. A church member gets offended at someone in the Church. Many times it is the preacher because he is in the place of authority. And instead of settling his problem the way the Bible says, he begins to talk to those in the church that will lend an ear. Most of the time it is a friend. Jesus and Peter were close. Satan used Peter because he knew how much Jesus loved him. People we love can influence us before others can. So, Satan uses a friend as a trip stick to trap us and get us out of the will of God. Jesus teaches a good lesson here. As close as He was to Peter, He set the record straight and told Peter that the source of his thoughts were from Satan. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Jesus was a true friend to Peter and did not let this go by. He rebuked him severely in front of the other disciples. It had to be embarrassing to Peter but he survived and didn’t quit the Lord or the Church! There is no way to grow in Christ without Jesus confronting us in our ignorance. Every Christian is ignorant, just in different areas! The study of Scripture is for the purpose of removing ignorance and giving us light to walk by. Psa. 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Who has God chosen to be your instructor? Is it not the pastor? Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Since this is true, the most likely person you will argue with if you adopt an idea that is contrary to Scripture, is the pastor. I am not exalting the pastor. That is not my intention. I am saying without apology or the slightest fear of being wrong, that this is the way God works. We give God the glory from our lives in the Church. The Holy Spirit makes the pastor the overseer of the Church (Acts 20:28). Look it up. It will be easier if you read it directly from your Bible. When we are rebuked by the pastor as he “watches for our souls” we can do one of two things. We can do like Peter and submit to the truth and get it right, or we can scream like a baby, quit the church and take everyone we can with us!

Jesus said to Peter, “. . . thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” In other words Jesus is telling Peter that he is not placing more importance on God’s thinking (the meaning of the word savourest) than he is his own. Peter’s own opinion took precedence over what God said in the matter. Jesus said what God said about the crucifixion and resurrection and Peter just couldn’t submit without an argument. There are those who are constantly arguing with the Word of God. They say, “Preacher, I don’t believe that is what that means.” Well, what do you think it means? “Well, I don’t think it means what you said.” Well, what do you think it means? About this time the guy gets a little uneasy because he doesn’t have the slightest clue what it means. Why don’t we just admit we are disagreeable and get it right like Peter did? To save face is to cheat ourselves out of spiritual growth and bind ourselves in the bondage of carnality.

Satan is a master liar and deceiver. He deceived Peter and used him as a trip stick in a trap he had set for Jesus. But Jesus didn’t step into the trap even though Satan used Jesus’ friend to trap Him. Jesus used the occasion to show Peter and us how easily it is to be trapped by Satan, and taught Peter and us that we need to examine our ideas to see if they are opposing the will of God.

May God show us when Satan tries to use us to oppose the will of God.

In Christ

Bro. White

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