Line of Thought

“Get thee behind me, Satan!”
Peter must have been aghast 
To hear Jesus say these words
To him, His most devoted disciple.
He’d been by His side 
From the beginning.
For three years,
Peter had shown Him nothing but loyalty-
Not once had he flinched
Not once had he looked back 
On the life he once lived 
With longing.
He’d only wanted what was best 
For Jesus,
For His own good.
So, of course, when Jesus 
Started speaking of his impending demise
His coming unjust treatment 
At the hands of religious leaders,
Peter had to step in,
He he had to talk the Christ 
Out of the ludicrous idea 
Of walking right into the lion’s den,
And laying His head between its jaws.
What good would come from His death?
And so in the end
The harshest rebuke 
That a disciple ever heard from Jesus
Was not brought about by a lack of commitment,
Nor for some egregious sin 
And not even ultimately for betrayal.
It was for a line of thought.
Of self-preservation
Of choosing our own path 
Instead of God’s,
Of choosing self-determined comfort 
Over God-ordained suffering.
Man over God.

No wonder Jesus was harsh.

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

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