“From 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, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”  23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 15:21—23)


            Jesus began to explain to his disciples why he came, what he would go through, and what would ultimately happen to him.  He MUST GO to Jerusalem, and He will SUFFER MANY THINGS at the hands of elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law.  Amazingly, Jesus spells out clearly what he will face.   Moreover, he reveals whom the suffering will come from.  He knew the difficulties that lay ahead.  He also knew why he came and the purpose of his life.  Jesus lives to fulfill his purpose no matter what stands in the way. 

            His obedience to fulfill why he came was a powerful force against anything that stood in the way.  He knew exactly what he would face.  God’s will and calling always accompany difficulties, hardships, suffering, and, if need be, death.  Jesus said these words of what will happen, “HE MUST BE KILLED.”  That isn’t easy to swallow.  Thus, Jesus gave this realistic challenge to anyone who wanted to follow him a few verses later; “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

            God’s calling and purpose include the suffering of many things and even possible bodily harm.  But whatever present circumstances and sorrows, Jesus said to the disciples, ON THE THIRD DAY, I WILL BE RAISED TO LIFE.  In every seemingly difficult case, WE ARE DESTINED to rise from it.  This is our powerful hope.  There is no escape for a follower of Christ by trying to shield ourselves from suffering.  But our suffering will end in hope. 

            Peter, did not like what he heard, so he said, “Never, Lord!” “This shall never happen to you!  Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God but merely human concerns.”  Whenever we go through suffering, Satan seeks every opportunity to try and stop us from going forward.  Jesus rebuked Peter.  Peter failed to see the distinction between the purpose of why Jesus came and purely human concerns. 

            Satan uses others to try and derail God’s purpose, calling, and will for our lives.  He uses even loved ones and those who feel sorry for us.  More than Jesus rebuking Peter, it was a rebuking of Satan behind what Peter said.  People often share genuine and reasonable concerns about the danger of what we may face, but ultimately, Satan sometimes works behind well-intended concerns.  We have to discern the difference between God’s will and Human Concerns.  Many peoples consider human concerns more than the will of God in the face of danger.  As terrible as it is, the pandemic has been a divisive issue facing churches today.  We can ask all kinds of questions, is it wise, is it safe, is it ok to do this or that? Church leaders, and believers, are yelling at each other about the right way to deal with danger.    

Each one of us must make a choice and decide.  Some well-intended human concerns are actually works of Satan.  I must discern and not be so easily moved by well-intended suggestions that often rile me up and cause me to lash out at others who don’t seem to see my viewpoint.  The litmus test for me is this…What do I have in mind, and what moves me to do what God sets me to do?  GOD’S CONCERNS OR HUMAN CONCERNS?  Jesus calls human concerns a STUMBLING BLOCK to the things of God.


I am reminded today to ask myself that the will of God involves dangers and possibly physical harm.  I am reminded to discern what the will of God is and what human concerns are.  I want to obey God and not fear human concerns that Satan often uses as a STUMBLING BLOCK that influences many believers. 


            Jesus, help me to differentiate your concerns and people’s concerns in the face of danger.  Thank you for reminding me today that following you involves risk, difficulties, suffering, and possibly death, but there is resurrection power no matter what happens.  Thank you for the greatest hope in you, even in the face of death.  Teach me to discern your concerns and be less concerned about human problems that often become a stumbling block to your will.  I want to obey you and follow you with all of my heart.  Forgive me for times that I often take human concerns over what you are concerned about.  Lead me, Jesus, Amen!