MATTHEW 16:22-26: “But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” NLT
OBSERVATION: What is my perspective on life? When I wake up each day, how do I view the day before me? When I hear the daily news, how does this affect the way I view the future? Am I daily walking in the confidence that I am kept by the power of God, or do I find myself struggling to control the circumstances that surround me?
One day while I was in college I began to battle with headaches. They usually began at the end of the day after being in class and taking notes from the lectures. I thought it was simply fatigue. Then one day I realized, I was squinting to see the writing on the board. Something had changed with my eyesight.
I made an appointment with the eye doctor and discovered that I was nearsighted. I could see things up close but was struggling to see things far away, like the chalkboard. My perspective was impaired and I needed to wear corrective lenses. Today, without these lenses I am unable to drive. Everything is distorted without my glasses!
Peter experienced a wonderful revelation of God when he proclaimed to Jesus – “…You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” At this moment Peter was seeing clearly. He was seeing through the lens of revelation. It was not intuition on Peter’s part, it was the gift of revelation from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,
- “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” Matthew 16:17 NLT
Jesus then proclaimed Himself as the rock on which the church would be built. He assured His disciples that the gates of hell could not prevail against His church. And, then He shared with them the upcoming events of His suffering, death, and resurrection. This was a lot for the disciples to take in.
All of a sudden Peter’s perspective changed. He went from divine revelation to human consternation.
- “But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
How could Peter’s perspective change so quickly? What was the source of Peter’s confusion? Jesus confronted Peter and said,
- “Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Jesus was not calling Peter – Satan. Jesus was identifying the source of Peter’s consternation. Satan is always trying to get us to look away from God’s divine revelation, His Word, and live life from our limited human perspective. Peter fell prey to this temptation. Jesus made it clear. When Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, he was looking at things from a divine point of view. When Peter told Jesus he would never let Him die, he was looking at things from a human point of view.
The entire call of the Christian life is a call to live life from a different perspective. It is a call to live in the Spirit. It is a call to put on the corrective lenses of God’s Word. It is a call to develop spiritual eyes and a Biblical worldview. Jesus put it this way.
- “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
When I went to the eye doctor I had a choice. I could have been vain and walked out of the office convinced that I did not need glasses. The result of this would have been a life that was lived in the blur of my stubbornness and pride – a literal blur! When we come to Christ we have the same choice. We can try to live our life from a human perspective or we can give up our own way, take up His cross, and follow Him.
One way leads to life, the other to death.
Over the past two years, my wife and I have been walking through a great time of trial and testing. The waters we have faced have been unexpected and unchartered. We did not know what to do. All my years of pastoring did not prepare me for what we found ourselves facing. The only thing we could do was humble ourselves and constantly go to the Word of God. Each and every step we have taken has been covered in prayer and directed by God’s Word. After two long years, we see a dim light, but there is still a long way to go.
The important thing in life is to maintain God’s perspective!
Lord, thank you for the times that I have experienced your divine revelation. Thank you for the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. Fill me anew with Your Spirit today and help me to give up my own way so that I can take up Your cross and walk in Your way. Grant me the grace to see everything in life as You see it.
In Jesus Name!