Suffice it to say, it was not one of Peter’s best moments. Jesus had just explained that the race God asked them to run would be grueling:
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (Mark 8:31, NRSV).
What was Jesus saying? Hadn’t Peter just confessed that Jesus was the “Messiah”? Didn’t he know that the mashiach, the Anointed One of God, would re-establish David’s throne? Why this sudden talk of doom and gloom? Surely, he had the story all wrong! So Peter did what he had to do. He “rebuked” Jesus (v. 32).
Peter was not expecting to be rebuked in return. Jesus thundered: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (v. 33).
Jesus insisted that when he speaks, his sheep recognize his voice, and they follow (John 10:27). Likewise, Jesus knew the voice of his Father, and one thing was for sure: This was not his Father’s message coming from Peter’s lips.
We, too, must learn to discern, first by becoming accustomed to the Lord’s voice. Once we know the voice of the Good Shepherd, we won’t be easily fooled when the wolf tries to imitate it. There may even come a time when – like Jesus -we say out loud: “Satan, get lost!” When we resist the devil and his warped plan for us, he must flee (James 4:7).
“Heavenly Father, teach me to know the voice of your Son. No matter the difficulty of the race you ask me to run, give me the power of your Holy Spirit, and I shall run it. Help me to discern the voice of the enemy, who is determined to detour me from your path, and give me the courage to always rebuke him. Through Christ I pray, AMEN.”
Reflection based on Scripture for Day 23, Cambridge Daily Reading Bible, 1995