Quick Thoughts: Matthew 16:21-25

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”
(Matthew 16:21-25)

To fully grasp the truths in the passage, we have to understand what happened just before this instance:

Peter had just received a revelation from God concerning Jesus’ divine Personality. Peter had just proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God. At this point, it is safe to say that Peter was on a “high” in his walk with Christ. In fact, Jesus had openly declared that He would build His Church on the foundation of the very truth that Peter had declared by revelation. Surely, it must have felt very good to be Peter at this point in time.

However, just a couple of moments later, the picture couldn’t be any more different. Jesus began revealing to His disciples that He would be killed and on the third day, He would be raised up from the dead.

Jesus was going to be killed and Peter’s mind could not grasp how that could be God’s will.

How could Jesus, the Christ (the Anointed), the Son of the Living God be killed?
How could the One Who performed so many miracles and did signs and wonders be killed like a criminal?

All these thoughts and perhaps more made Peter to start questioning the veracity of God’s Will for Jesus.

It led to Peter putting two and two together and start reasoning about the purpose of God about Jesus. All these did not seem logical to his mind. It simply did not make sense at all.

If the Anointed Messiah was going to impart His generation and the ones to come, He had to live a longer life, not a shorter one…

And this where we all have to be careful.

You see, the truth is that the very moment we turn on our physical sensitivity (our minds and senses: taste, smell, hearing, sight and feelings) at the expense of our spiritual sensitivity, we give the devil a chance to step in.

Little wonder Jesus had to say,

Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
(Matthew 16:23)

That might have sounded very harsh, but Christ was showing us a truth we should pay attention to.

The word translated ‘savourest’ in Jesus’ statement to Peter contains some nuggets for us:

Savourest = to exercise the mind, that is, entertain or have a sentiment or opinion ; by implication to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction).

So, in essence, Christ was telling Peter, and by extension, Christians today, that the moment we exercise our minds towards the things of men (i.e, the logic and the senses), we are giving room to the devil to operate in our lives.

At this point, it is imperative to state that our logic and senses are not evil in themselves! Common sense and logic tells you to wash your hands when they are dirty. If you do not, you are at risk to ingest germs into your body and fall sick.
Your senses tell you to dress warm when you are feeling cold.
The truth is that the senses and logic are not evil in themselves, since they are pathways of interaction with the physical world we live in.

The problem arises when we trust in what makes sense to our logic and senses OVER what God has said to us. Whenever we do this, we give the devil a foothold in our lives.

The truth is that the devil does not stand a chance against us when we walk in the realm of faith in God, especially when it does not make sense to our senses and logic.

The Bible tells us that much:

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it,they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”
(1 Corinthians 2:8)

When we operate in the realm where we exercise our minds (savour) the things of God, rather than those of men, the devil is totally clueless regarding us. He is not in the know!

Now, true to the style of the Greatest Teacher, note that Jesus takes this opportunity to teach us some additional lessons. You see, in order not to give room to the devil, we have to follow Christ.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”

Christ explicitly spelt out how not to give the devil a foothold in our lives.

We see Jesus’ teachings mirrored here:

Deny the wants of the flesh (i.e, your senses and logic)

Kill/crucify the flesh, embracing the means (the cross)

Follow the path that Jesus Himself trod.

The truth about our goal in the Christian walk is to be absolutely lost in Christ to the point that He permeates everything that the individual is about.

Our goal is to let our logic and senses to be Christocentric!

That is God’s will for us…

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