Jesus Rebuked Him

I’ve sometimes been the recipient of rebukes. These are never pleasant occasions, as I am charged with having done or said the wrong thing. On a few of those occasions the charge was without basis. What my accuser thought was the case was not. I was glad to be able to affirm my innocence, but the fact that I had been rebuked was nevertheless painful.
When Jesus rebukes there are no mistakes. He knows the facts completely; there are no gaps in his understanding.
Jesus often rebuked his enemies. They attempted to undermine his work and teachings, but they always fell into the pit they had dug for him. We can imagine how one would wilt in the white-hot glare of the truth when Jesus responded to their erroneous claims.
In Matthew 16, Jesus rebuked one who was as close to him as anyone on earth. Peter, who had just made the good confession of Jesus’ deity, now “took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke him” (Matthew 16:22, NKJV). Peter could not envision the scenario Jesus had just presented: his rejection and execution at the hands of the chief priests and scribes. Peter took it upon himself to straighten Jesus out on the subject.
The rebuke was turned back upon Peter: “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men'” (Matthew 16:23). Peter was an offense to Jesus because he clung more to his own views of God’s will than to what the Lord himself taught.
Let us reflect long and carefully on this passage. It was not a scolding based on immorality or on blatant doctrinal error. It was a warning to let go of previously held notions about God and his will, and to accept nothing more nor less than what God has actually said.
This is the point James sought to stress: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).
Only one thing can save my soul, and that is the word of God. As long as I hold onto my cherished traditions and preconceived ideas, there is no room for God’s word in my soul. Though I sincerely believe I am serving the Lord, I’ll someday discover that I’ve been mistaken (see also Matthew 7:21-23). May I “receive with meekness” his word before it becomes necessary for him to rebuke me!

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Tim Hall

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