By Mark Coffey, Missionary to South Africa
21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.Matthew 16:21-25
Jesus shared with His disciples the details of how the Gospel plan will be carried out. He shared how He must die on the cross, be buried, and rise from the dead. This plan, the Gospel, is the power of God unto salvation. It’s how the Spirit of God works to make people into a new creature. It’s how they can be born again. The Gospel changed my life and it’s the only thing that can change your life.
Peter rebuked Jesus because he didn’t like that plan. Peter’s plans and dreams went up in smoke. When Peter was thinking about making an impact on the world, he had something else in mind. He didn’t like the idea of Jesus being killed. In his mind, that was a bad plan because the one that he loved the most
wasn’t going to be safe. Sometimes in our quest for safety and security, we sacrifice what God wants done. It may seem like our intentions are good, but we
are being used as an instrument of Satan.
Peter received, in return, one of the harshest rebukes Jesus ever said to someone because he didn’t savor the things of God. He savored the things of man. He didn’t have an appetite for what pleased God. He had an appetite for what pleased man and, specifically, self. It looked like his main focus was on Christ,
but it was the opposite.
Many times as Christians we make the same mistake Peter made. Our idea of what we think is the best way to live as a Christian is contrary to what God wants from us. We don’t realize that what we do is the exact opposite of what God wants done.
There are many Christians who are not involved in missions. They don’t give and they don’t send. They think what they are doing is okay, but they don’t realize it is against God’s plan to carry the Gospel to the world. When people surrender to the mission field, they are surrendering to God’s plan to carry the Gospel to the world. When your church supports a missionary, they are surrendering to God’s plan of carrying the Gospel to the world.
We pray for our children to get saved, and then when they do and want to go across the world to be a missionary, we panic and say, “No, that wasn’t in my
plan.” Parents will object. Friends will be upset. Lost people won’t understand. People will fear for their lives. But are we savoring the things of God or the
things of man? Are we in favor of God’s plan or objecting to His plan? God’s plan is for us to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Jesus.
It’s for Christ’s sake. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about our family. It’s not about our comfort. It’s about God’s plan of getting the Gospel to