Giving up others to God’s hands can be very hard. It’s interesting that Jesus explained (in basic terms) what was going to happen. It wasn’t could happen; it was would happen. Peter, emotional Peter, didn’t want to lose his friend. There also could have been a bit or, “things are going so well for you (and us). Why wreck it now?” We often look at Peter with something less than sympathy, saying, “don’t you know?” No! Peter didn’t know. He didn’t understand at all. Besides, the Messiah was supposed to be a triumphant (some form of it) figure, not a tragic figure.
Jesus’ calling Peter out as, “…Satan…” it always interesting. Some imagine that Satan possessed Peter or whispered to Peter, and Jesus responded to Satan. Yet, the real issue isn’t so much Satan (though it is an issue), but the worldly perspective that Peter was operating under. This worldly view was present with Jesus’ temptation in the desert.
When Jesus addressed Peter as “Satanas”, it was likely more a title or appellation, rather than the individual called Satan. We can draw this from the words that Jesus continued with afterward. Satanas means adversary or someone being in the role of adversary. One could go so far as to say that this was a temptation to worldly things presented by a friend (Peter) rather than an opponent (the Devil who tempted Jesus in the desert); harder to dismiss because of one’s feelings.
Depending on where one is on their journey with Jesus Christ, choosing to follow God’s path can be a very hard path of suffering and cross-bearing. Depending on what one has to surrender, it could be quite difficult (parents, spouse, children). This is not to say we are to develop some of the Eastern austerity traditions of disassociation or detachment. It does mean we are called to practice releasing to God.
As long as we live in the world, the world will call upon us to put it first, along with what it values. God calls upon us to value God first. If we are properly oriented in that direction, other concerns and cares will take their appropriate place.
1) In what ways are you currently struggling with what the world wants and what you believe God wants? How do you discern what God wants?
2) Where and when have you been guilty of responding like Peter, putting what you think God should want versus what the world expects?
3) Why would detachment or disassociation from the world be bad from a Godly perspective?