Mark chapter 8

“Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” – Vs 33

Talk about harsh words! Jesus seems to body slam poor Peter in response to the impetuous disciple’s reprimand of the Lord. Jesus has just finished telling His disciples that He was going to have to suffer and be rejected. Not only that, He would be killed and then raised to life three days later. This news didn’t set well with the disciples, and especially Peter. So Peter did what Peter always did. He spoke up. Mark records, “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him” (Vs 32). What Jesus had just shared was unthinkable to Peter. Why? Because it didn’t fit into his plans for the Messiah. It didn’t gel with his view of how this whole thing was supposed to work out. Peter, like the other disciples, was looking for a conquering Messiah, not some kind of suffering servant. They had each signed up to be involved in a victory, not to follow some guy who was going to end up being little  more than a victim. So Peter rebuked Jesus. And then Jesus returns the favor.

“Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it? After all, Peter meant well. Sure, he probably spoke a little too quickly and was a little bit out of line, but only because he cared. But Jesus knew what really motivated Peter’s response. And it had more to do with Peter’s own selfish interests than his concern for the kingdom or God’s interests. Peter rebuked Jesus because he didn’t like what he was hearing. He didn’t want to hear talk of suffering and dying. Even if it did include being raised from the dead three days later. He wanted victory and he wanted it now. He also wanted to be a part of the celebration after the victory. It was what all the disciples were thinking. They were looking for power, prominence, and position. James and John would even ask Jesus for as much not long after this.

“Permit one of us to sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” – Mark 10:37

Jesus knew their hearts. He was fully aware of what was motivating Peter’s response. And it wasn’t pretty. In fact, Jesus compares Peter to Satan himself. Why? Because, like Satan, Peter was being motivated by pride and self-interest. At the moment he rebuked Jesus, Peter was revealing his true heart. He was in it for himself. He was more concerned about his own personal interests than he was the interests of God. Peter had an earthly agenda, not a heavenly one. He had plans for Jesus, but they didn’t match God’s plans. And when Jesus announced what God’s plans were, Peter responded in anger.

Setting Your Mind On God’s Interests

So what are God’s interests? Clearly, God had an interest that His Son complete the work for which He had come. He had to finish the task He had been given. Jesus had to follow through with the divine plan for mankind’s salvation. It was the same plan that Satan had tried to thwart in the Garden of Eden and in the Judean wilderness as he tempted Christ to abandon God’s plan for some twisted plan of his own. So Jesus rebukes Peter. He then goes on to teach His disciples a valuable lesson

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:34-36

Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Me. Lose your life. Give up your plan. Say goodbye to your agenda. Give up your lofty expectations. Die to self. Surrender to the Father’s way of doing things. To not do so is to walk in harmony with the enemy. It is to side with Satan and his agenda. Because anything that is not in accordance with God’s interests is in the enemy’s interests. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters” (Luke 11:23). So where do your interests lie? Do you know what God’s interests are? Like Peter, have you confused them with your own? Do you tend to follow Jesus for what you can get out of it? Do you have some expectations that you want to get fulfilled? If Jesus told you they weren’t going to happen, would you rebuke Him? Has He disappointed you at times by not doing things according to your plans? If so, then you’re guilty of setting your mind on man’s plan instead of God’s. So why not deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him? He’s never failed you yet.

Father, I want to set my mind on your plans and not my own. I don’t  want to be guilty of the very same thing Satan was guilty of: Pridefully demanding that You follow my plan. My plans never work out. They never deliver what I think they are going to deliver. So help me deny myself, take up my cross and follow You. I want to live my life according to Your plan and not mine. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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