by Frans Bakker
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me.—Matthew 16:23a
Peter would certainly have stopped Christ from entering the gateway of His sufferings and death if it had been at all feasible. But this was absolutely impossible. Peter’s love for Christ motivated him to spare Jesus from the way He must go. But love can be blind. Peter neglected to realize that Christ must be the Surety for His people. He and all the disciples truly believed that they could be saved without a suffering and dying Savior. It is possible to err in love. It is even possible to oppose God and desire what Satan desires. This is the case with Peter. In rebuke, he is addressed by the Lord with the epithet, “Satan,” for he opposes God’s work in securing salvation.
The disciples desired that Jesus’ cause would advance. They looked for the crown but not the cross. They looked for a kingdom on earth where there would be no sin or misery. But they did not realize what the costs would entail. They did not comprehend that a payment for sin would be demanded by God’s justice.
Admittedly, every one of God’s people understands the attitude of the disciples, for they also do not fully grasp the high price that God’s justice demands. A spiritual change took place in their lives but initially they did not realize that they could only be saved by the death of Christ on the cross. At the outset, they thought they could be saved without the cross. They thought that salvation could be received, without satisfying the justice of God. They did not recognize the demands of God and did not understand that only the spotless Lamb of God could pay the price of sin. But the Lord enlightens and guides His people so that they may comprehend that Christ had to suffer for their salvation. In this way blind love is changed into true committed love. Then with Peter we can say in truth, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
From The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, compiled and translated by Gerald R. Procee. Reformation Heritage Books and Free Reformed Publications, 2007. Used by permission. For further information, click here.