• Trey Harper

Jesus' Purpose

"From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”" (Matthew 16.21-23)

Peter is trying to be encouraging and Jesus’s reply seems so strongly worded, calling him “Satan”. But there are a couple of things going on here that we should know.

First, the word “satanas” is what Jesus calls Peter. The meaning is not the name of the devil, but “adversary: one who opposes another in purpose or act” (Strong’s G4567). Jesus is labeling Peter’s response as contrary to His own purpose. Jesus does this with just enough bite to let Peter (and us) know that He has a job to do, and Peter isn’t helping with statements like the one he has made. During Jesus’ trial with Pilate He proclaims the reason He was born into this world is to establish His kingdom (and that glory can only be obtained through humbling Himself to a death on the cross).

Secondly, while Jesus is willing to die on the cross, He does not desire such a death. In Matthew 4 we read of Jesus being tempted by the devil- one of those temptations is to be king over all of the nations of mankind. If Jesus did not desire this it would not be a temptation. We also read of Jesus asking God to “remove this cup from me” (Luke 22.42) in reference to the pain He would soon suffer.

Reexamining Peter’s statement, his support for Jesus not dying, we must understand what Jesus did. Jesus must die. For our sins, Jesus must suffer- or we will. In death, Jesus takes on our sins, so that we can be free of them. He offers Himself, to die in agony, so that we can live. This substitution for you and I, is why Jesus came to this Earth. Peter cannot offer another way, Jesus must “suffer many things…and be killed”. Let us lament the need for Jesus to be our sacrifice, and also praise Him for doing so! To God be the glory- Jesus is my payment for my sin.