“How can you be such a good boy one minute and such a bad boy the next?” Almost all of us have heard our mother sigh and say something like this when suddenly we shift from exemplary behavior to bad.
When it comes to a strong, godly leader who one minute makes Jesus’ true identity crystal clear and then in the next comes out with something straight out of hell, I’m tempted to throw up my hands and stop following Jesus. But then I remember. How do I know that this inconsistency is so evil? And who is the one who most strongly rebukes it?
In our last Devo we came to a climactic point that Mark has been building toward in his Gospel. Herod Antipas’ guilty conscience thought Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Many of the Jews in Galilee believed Jesus was one of the prophets, and the Jewish religious hierarchy in Jerusalem spread the fake news that Jesus’ power was actually based in Satan. But at Caesarea Philippi, at the clear head waters of the Jordan River, Peter was crystal clear. Jesus is the Messiah. Then in only a matter of minutes his mouth revealed that the dark sinister one had grabbed a hold of his tongue.
“Then Jesus began to teach the disciples that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the legal experts on the Law, to be killed, and then after three days rise again. Jesus was speaking clearly about this word. Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. But Jesus turned and when he saw his disciples, he rebuked Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking the things of God but the things of man!’” Mark 8:31-33
From the animals that God slew to provide the skins to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, to Abraham taking his son to the mountain as a sacrifice, to Moses lifting up a bronze snake on a pole to heal the snake bites, God’s entire old covenant story pointed to a climax where his Son would become the sacrificial Lamb who would die for our sins.
After dying Jesus would rise again and one day he will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan powerfully tempts Jesus to move right to the throne, bypassing the cross, and in this case, he put the words in the mouth of the natural leader of Jesus’ own personal disciples. Jesus could not risk the rest of the disciples being infected with this deception and that’s why he so strongly rebuked Peter.
LORD, thanks that Mark tells an honest story where even the most insightful disciple, the great Apostle Peter, could get it so right one minute and so wrong the next. Jesus, thanks for going to the cross for me and not taking the obstacle-free road to glory that Satan seductively offered. Protect me from not stressing the centrality of your cross and your resurrection because I don’t want to be ridiculed or to suffer.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!