Since Jesus was determined to follow God’s will for Himself, anyone who follows Him must do the same. We live in a world where standards are constantly being lowered; from how we achieve grades in school, how we do our work, to moral standards of integrity in the offices of government.
Jesus faced similar problems with the disciples. Over and over, Jesus instructed them that He was going to suffer and die, and rise the third day. In the face of all this teaching, Peter had the audacity to “take the Lord aside and rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to You”” Matthew 16:22. Can you imagine speaking to Jesus like that? Jesus comes back to Peter with these stunning words, “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” (16:23).
Think about this for a moment. Jesus is saying that any influence that would divert Him from doing the will of God came from Satan. We tend to allow the ‘shades of gray’ to influence our thinking. Not with Jesus; it was black or white, total commitment. In His return rebuke to Peter, Jesus makes two important observations:
1. “You are a hindrance to Me.” Have you ever said that to someone who was trying to influence you in the wrong direction? Your co-workers, neighbors, relatives, students at school or college, or even respected leaders in the Church may seek to influence you in the wrong direction. How do you respond to their suggestions? ANY INFLUENCE THAT IS NOT THE WILL OF GOD BECOMES A HINDRANCE IF WE ALLOW IT. The idea behind this word “hindrance” is that the other person is a trap that immediately closes, in the same way as when an animal is caught by a trap. Paul uses the same idea when he writes about becoming a “stumbling block” to someone. This is “sin” (1 Corinthian 8:9, 12).
This is a hard issue for all of us! So often when we take a stand for a value that is not shared by others, we are immediately criticized, made fun of, or even mocked; sometimes much worse. This becomes a test to our determination and resolve to follow Christ. One of the hardest parts of the Christian walk is “standing firm” on biblical convictions in the spirit of grace, even when other professing Christians are doing something different!
We will pick up on the second point tomorrow. For now, are you resolute and purposeful in your life? If not, it will show.
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