Satan is the great deceiver of mankind. He is subtle and cunning like a fox. His desire is to destroy mankind and especially those who seek the Lord. Here we see the battle lines drawn up. Christians on the side of God but Satan on the side of men.
There is a good message in this section of scripture. Jesus was telling his disciples plainly what was to come. He was explaining that he was to suffer and be killed by the hands of the elders, chief priests and the scribes.
But Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Jesus. Peter said to him, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22) But we see the response of Jesus and his words are interesting.
Peter knew Jesus was the Christ. He also had seen the manifestations of Jesus’ power over several years. He knew that no man would be able to stand against Jesus and prevail. So he said, “This will never happen to you.” Jesus could have taken action and prevented his death by using the whole power of God. But then how would we have been saved? How would he have provided salvation for all of mankind if he had chosen to keep his life and not die for our salvation and our sin?
No. What we see here is Satan deceptive and deceitful as ever using Peter against Jesus to sway his decision. Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies. His influence was such that he was even permitted to use one who was closer to Jesus than any other to attempt to tempt Jesus into stepping away from his purpose.
If this could happen to Jesus, it can happen to us also. Satan can use those who are closest to us to tempt us and try to gain the advantage over us. Sometimes we may fall into the trap, but fortunately for us Jesus did not fall. He stood against Satan and recognised that the attack was not from Peter but from the evil one. He put Satan in his place and did not rebuke Peter but showed the source of this attack.
Jesus said that sometimes those closest to us will be our enemies. He said, “…a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:36) So just as Jesus recognised the attack of Satan through Peter, we too need to be aware that those closest to us, especially if they are not looking to the Lord, may be used to attack or tempt us into evil as Satan tried to tempt Jesus into evil.
So take warning from this scripture and know that this can happen. But like Jesus, if it does happen, and if you are caught out, put the blame where it belongs…on the head of the deceiver. Pray for the person who was used as Satan’s instrument and don’t hold a grudge. As they say, don’t shoot the messenger, it is the work of Satan to tear you down. But Jesus has already conquered and through him we will find the victory.
(Picture sourced from stock.xchng: http://www.sxc.hu and taken by Dave Dyet)