How the devil spoke through Peter
“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 16:23
Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” God entered into Peter’s subjectivity and made the truth real to him (Matthew 16:16-20).
When Jesus also warned his disciples about the cross, Peter took him aside and explained what a bad idea that was: “This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:21-22).
This time Jesus discerned in Peter another spiritual presence. Peter could speak under God’s illuminating power on one occasion, the same Peter could speak under Satan’s tempting power on another, and Peter himself didn’t feel the difference. So Jesus shocked him into awareness. What made the difference was not Peter setting his mind on the things of Satan but just setting his mind on “the things of man.” Things like survival. Natural, understandable things — but contrary to the cross.
“Jesus, keep me near the cross.”