Pentecost 17 Christ, the Willing Sacrifice
† In the Name of Jesus! †
Grace and Peace is for you, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rebuke – Rebuked
What was so satanic about Peter’s comments?
I can hear Peter’s thoughts, as he listened to Jesus that incredible day. A small sense of pride, accompanies the most incredible news! They had confirmed that which they had only silently discussed among themselves. The dream of every Jewish person was about to be fulfilled, the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One of God, was finally in their midst.
Everything was about to once again, become good, even if they were not allowed to tell people about it yet. They were now sure of what they only suspected, since that day on the beach, when they left everything behind and obeyed His command; to come follow him; to follow this man from Nazareth.
Peter’s mind would be considering all the blessings that were promised with the coming of the Messiah! How incredible, all of those promises are nearly fulfilled! The suffering of God’s people was soon to be over! His mind races with all the implications of the Christ, being here, and now.
Wait, Peter’s mind is telling him, what is Jesus talking about now? He listens more intently, as Jesus is clearly talking about….
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed,”
Alarms go off, wait – the Messiah, the Christ is the Son of Man. Jesus is talking about His suffering, the leaders of the people of God rejecting Him, and KILLING HIM!
In a gut wrenching emotional outburst, Peter reacts. For he sees the greatest treasure known to the people of God, threatened. The only hope his people have, the only possible way for his people, his family, his friends, to be saved, is threatened.
And so, the impulsive Peter, pulls Jesus aside, to stop him from such pessimistic talk, to assure him that Peter would protect the Christ, with his life if need be….
Then Peter hears words too harsh to bear….
Get away from me, Satan, for you desire not God’s desire, but that of man.
What is satanic, so evil, so horrid about protecting the Messiah? Why in such a strong public rebuke, is Peter labeled Satan, the Adversary of God?
It is there, that sermon must go, to understand why the one who recognizes that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah,
1. Diabolos – to throw against – to speak against
Before we go on, we need to define a couple of words. If you look at your sermon outline, you have them there.
The first is Christ which is the Greek, or from the Hebrew, Messiah. It is a title, not a name. Christ/Messiah mean the same thing. The “Anointed One”. In the Old Testament, when a man was chosen by God, to be a King, or to be a Prophet, or even a priest, there was always an anointing. Usually with oil, but perhaps as well, with Water.
The “Anointing”, set the man apart for the task. A special task, which required the strength and blessing of God to accomplish. In the Old Testament as well, there is only one spoken of, as “the Christ”, the “Messiah”, the “Anointed One”
The other word, that we need to define, is Satan. It, like Christ, is a title, which has synonyms, words that came to mean the same thing, like Devil. Satan literally means, “The Adversary”, and “Devil” or “Diabolic” means literally, to throw against, as in "throwing accusations against". Let me demonstrate, with a volunteer. This person represents God’s desire and direction. I, for the briefest of moments, will be the adversary, the opposes, is satanic towards the plans of God. In that role, I would do anything, say anything, to stop God’s will from occurring.
2. He spoke for man’s desires, against God’s desires
As Peter attempts to push Jesus away from thoughts of the cross, he sets himself in the awkward and horrible position, of opposing the will of God. He is thinking of this world, and the need to protect the treasure, the need to keep Jesus safe. Yet, God’s desire is for something greater! Something so great, that Peter cannot yet comprehend that for which Christ was anointed. You see that is Peter’s error, he doesn’t consider the purpose for which Christ was anointed. He is thinking of man’s timing and ways, and not God’s.
Perhaps, like Peter, that is part of why we so easily can be ensnared by temptation and sin. For rather than see our lives, and our priorities, through eternal eyes, we watch our lives in the present. We set our priorities, based not on an eternal schedule, but on one that lasts 70 or 80 years, and we know the clock is running quickly. We have only so long, to make our mark, to enjoy life, to secure our place, and the place of our children in life. We have only so much time to enjoy life, and the pleasures it offers.
The temptation is, to give God a back seat, and miss the time set apart for prayer and meditation on God’s word. To miss church, just this weekend, because it is extremely important to make that meeting, finish that project, or get to that event, for it has “long-term” ramifications for our lives, or the lives of our family. As if 20 years, compares to eternity.
Like Peter, we bow to the god of the Present and Now, the god of our future and that of our children. Or the god of pleasure or fun. There is a time for pleasure and fun and work, and for making our child’s futures secure. The Book of Ecclesiastes says there is a time for every purpose under heaven. But our first priority, the central core of our lives, has to be based in our relationship with God.
We, like Peter wanting to protect his “treasure”, like Adam wanting to understand good and evil when he had only known good, trade in eternity, for that which is really fleeting, and passing. We set ourselves up, against God. We choose sin, and become the adversaries against God.
3. While He recognizes the Anointing, he misses what Christ was anointed for!
Jesus, however, was not finished with Peter, nor was he finished with us. For Peter did recognize that Jesus was the Christ, that Jesus was the one God anointed for a purpose, that scripture tells us was planned from before the foundation of the world. Jesus was anointed to suffer, and be rejected, and indeed be killed, and then, three incredible days later, to rise again.
Because that anointing, that suffering, had an incredible result. We hear of what it would accomplish, in the text from Jesus’ first sermon,
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV)
There was a purpose to the anointing, to the cross. The way that it is expressed, are so incredible. We have our hearts, broken by our sin, and the sins of others, healed. We are set free from being ensnared by sin, and freed from death. We exchange ashes, and mourning, and weakness for beauty, gladness and praise.
For no longer are we separated from God, but instead, we are gathered into His presence. We are invited to his banquet, That truly is the work of Christ. To gather again, the people of God into the presence of God, to be Immanuel – God with us. Now, in times like this, and for eternity.
That is the reason for his suffering, for his rejection, for his death, burial, and resurrection. So that we can walk with God, that we can fellowship with Him.
That is why Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One. The One who would gather the people of God, and cleanse them from sin, by His wounds, and death. Again, the Old Testament tells of this over and over, but so clearly in Isaiah.
Isaiah 53:10-11 (ESV) 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
We are the people He makes righteous, we are the people whose sin He bears. His life is an offering, that we might know life.
Or as Hebrews explains,
2 look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
He was anointed to die. That was the way the Christ would make things great for His people. THe people who trust in Him, and know that He became the Christ, so that we could live in peace with God.
My friends, may knowing that Jesus was anointed so that you would be gathered as the people of God, that you would be freed from your sins, and made holy, bring you peace. The very peace of God which surpasses all understanding, and guards your hearts, and minds, in Christ Jesus. AMEN!