Peter made a bold statement of faith when He answered Jesus, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). Mark’s gospel then records that Jesus began teaching His disciples that He would suffer many things, and be killed, and three days later would rise. Then Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him. Peter did not want to accept what Jesus was telling them. He attempted to correct Jesus’ thinking. How dare He! I suppose we could excuse Peter’s audacity by assuming He was speaking to Jesus out of love. He could not bear to think that Jesus would suffer and die. Perhaps Peter’s rebuke was, “NO JESUS! This cannot be!”
Jesus turned away from Peter’s rebuke and looked at His disciples. Here was a teachable moment. With the other disciples listening, Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Mark 8:33).
How could Peter move so quickly from a declaration that Jesus is the Lord’s Christ to being an adversary of Jesus? This reminds us of what Jesus explained in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus was teaching about sowing the word. Concerning the seed that fell by the wayside, Jesus said, “When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15). There may be a hint of that when Jesus calls Peter His adversary. Satan wants to quickly move us from celebrating our faith to undoing it.
My main purpose in recounting this story was to reflect on Jesus words of rebuke. “You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” When we think about life like godless men do, we give Satan an opening to use our thoughts against what God is doing. Our thinking can become anti-Christ. We must guard our thinking by being “mindful of the things of God.” That has been our purpose in calling attention to Philippians 4:8. “whatever things are true … noble … just … pure … lovely … of good report … and any virtue … and anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”