Summary: Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter did not understand God's plan.... Jerusalem, the cross and empty grave would mean forgiveness and eternal life. We all make mistakes... quotes by Barbara Bush, John Stott

In Jesus Holy Name August 30, 2020

Text: Matthew 16:21-28 Pentecost XIII – Redeemer

“To Jerusalem…A Mission to Complete”

Jesus and His disciples were at Caesarea Philippi. Their ministry to this point had been a stunning success. Crowds pressed in on them everywhere they went. People eagerly reached out to touch this young teacher from Nazareth. The disciples themselves were caught up in the excitement of it all. Jesus asked them, "Who do you say I am?" and Simon Peter answered enthusiastically, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" It was one of the most dramatic moments in the disciples' pilgrimage with Jesus.

Jesus in effect said: “Peter you’ve got it, that’s right! This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, on this confession of faith, I will build my church...”

Then Jesus changed the subject. He began to tell them that the crowds would soon turn against Him; He would be crucified, on the third day he would be raised. The disciples didn't know what to make of all this. Simon Peter took Jesus aside: "Forbid it Lord that these things should happen to you." Jesus rebuked Peter in strong language. The words are as harsh as any words in the New Testament: "Get behind me Satan! You are not on the side of God but of man."

Simon Peter probably regretted trying to correct Jesus. He had no idea that he was being deceived by Satan….who was trying to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem. Peter was reacting because…..Peter did not understand God’s plan. The disciples did not understand that the “mission” of Jesus was the “conquest of evil.” His journey to Jerusalem was an act of obedience. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans that “just as the disobedience of one man (Adam) brought death to the human race so by the obedience of one man (Jesus) many will be made righteous before God. (Romans 5:19)

Rev. John Stott in his book “The Cross of Christ” has a chapter entitled “The Conquest of Evil”. In the Garden of Eden the conquest of Evil was predicted. During the ministry of Jesus Satan made many attempts to get rid of Jesus. Satan used Herod to murder of the children of Bethlehem. In the wilderness temptations Satan was tempting Jesus to avoid the cross. Later, Satan used the crowds to force Jesus into a politico-military kingship. And now Peter tries to stop Jesus from the journey to Jerusalem. (p. 234,235)

The combined forces of Rome and Jerusalem were arrayed against Jesus, He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him from the approaching trial and cross. He did not He was obedient, so that His sacrifice would bring about our salvation.

We are not to regard the cross as defeat and the resurrection as victory. Rather, the cross was the victory won, and the resurrection the victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated… It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.

Now I will guarantee you that Peter and the disciples had no idea what a “church” was or would be. They had no idea of the true “mission” for which Jesus was born in Bethlehem. They had no idea that Jesus was going to sacrifice His life so that they might have their sins forgiven. They had no idea the “cost” God demanded for the removal of His Wrath” against broken commandments.

I’m sure Simon Peter regretted trying to correct Jesus. But we all say dumb things from time to time.

In her memoirs, Barbara Bush described one of her most embarrassing moments. Along with her husband, then the Vice President, Mrs. Bush was having lunch with Emperor Hirohito at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.

Sitting next to the Emperor, Mrs. Bush found conversation an uphill task. To all her efforts at verbal engagement, the Emperor would smile and simply answer “Yes” or “No,” with an occasional “Thank you” tossed in.

Looking around at her elegant surroundings, Mrs. Bush complimented The Emperor on his official residence. “Thank you,” he said.

“Is it new?” pressed Mrs. Bush.

“Yes.” Hirohito replied.

“Was the old palace just so old that it was falling down?” asked Mrs. Bush.

In his most charming, yet regal, manner, Hirohito replied, “No, I’m afraid that you bombed it.”

Oops! Mrs. Bush did not regard that as one of her finest moments. But we’ve all done it, said things at the least appropriate moment, we’ve blurted out something dumb.

Simon Peter needed a second chance. Peter did not understand the “mission” and the “cost” of God’s plan. God’s eternal plan, since the days of Adam and Eve, was to restore peace and harmony with all human beings. Jesus became the sacrificial “lamb of God”. He was replacing the O.T. sacrifices for the forgiveness of broken commandments. (read Hebrews 7:24-27)

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