What’s behind Jesus’ stinging rebuke of Peter in Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33?
Satan must have been conscious that the approaching cross would become the moment of his personal defeat. In his public ministry, Jesus clearly connected the cross and the defeat of Satan (John 12:31-33). This explains why Satan worked diligently to entice Jesus off the road to Calvary in the desert temptations (see Matt 4:1-11). These temptations were Satan’s attempt to block Jesus’ path to the cross, to hinder Jesus’ victory over evil. Satan could smell his own defeat.
So as Jesus spoke to the disciples of His impending death upon the cross, Peter rebuked him for the idea (Matt 16:21-22). Yet Peter’s rebuke—no doubt conceived and motivated by Satan himself—became yet another roadblock, one last attempt by Satan to knock Jesus off the path that led to the cross. Inadvertently, Peter was now acting in tandem with the intentions of Satan, seeking to distract Jesus from his ultimate purposes in the cross.