March 7

Matthew 16:21-23 21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

From a study of the chronological life of Jesus, we see this turning point came right before the transfiguration. Three of the disciples would witness the glory of Jesus. Their eyes would confirm what they had been thinking in their hearts. Yet they still had an earthly kingdom mindset. Jesus had to prepare them for the shock they were about to face, suffering at the hands of religious leaders, killed, but rising again to life.

Peter had just been commended for his perception of the revelation of God that Jesus is the Messiah. Then Peter became an instrument of Satan. How did he go from one extreme to another so quickly? He turned back to minding the things of men. When we have a heavenly mindset, influenced by the Holy Spirit, the ways and preferences of man are not a priority. We seek out the ways and preferences of God. When that means pain and loss, there is a temptation to retreat to man's ways. Peter loved Jesus, yet, his love was brotherly kind of love, and he knew it. It was not the love of God that prefers others above oneself.

We often resort to minding the things of men. It is our old nature. We think it is safer; but if we could see through God's eyes, we would see it is foolishness. It ends in vanity. It is God's ways and the mind of Christ that produces fruit that remains. May the Lord help us to see beyond the present pain and fill our minds with His thoughts, to see the eternal good He produces through suffering and loss in this life. Peter did not cling to His revelation that Jesus was Messiah for very long, but God was not done working in Peter. There were still some crash landings and recoveries that lay ahead in the story, but it ends with God finishing the work He started in him.

Consider: Take heart, fellow alien. He will finish His work in you too!