Get behind me, Satan!

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.

[For more on this see John Piper, Spectacular Sins (Crossway, 2008), pp. 100-101. Download the book for free here.]

3 thoughts on “Get behind me, Satan!

  1. Dear brother,

    I had a 15 minutes on your website and I liked it very much.
    I am a 23 years old student doing a master in public administration in England. God has saved 2 years ago ( it was probably before, don’t know how to know that, I mean, when I was regenerated). But I am very very unwise and ignorant of the things of God. But I mean very much, really. God has put in my heart to always read the bible and I am doing it everyday, twice a year. I have been listening to sermons of brother Paul Washer (from and God has blessed and taught immensely thought that. I would take forever to tell all the flaws in my character and my religiosity. I am very desperate to grow in the things of God and run as fast as I can from the things of this world, from sin. It’s been hard, but God is strong and faithful and merciful. I writing to you because I am feeling I need to read and to study theology. I need it. I desire to become a politician next year, and if it is the Lord’s will I will run for a seat in the national congress in Brazil. However, all I have is Jesus Christ and he’s all to my life, even though I am weak and poor in knowledge about him. But I truly pray that God will save me and have mercy on me, and reign in my life. I say it like this because I always want to examine my self because I do things sometimes so horrible that I ask myself if I really know him. But I know above all that he has saved and forgiven my sins and I just want to leave everything to follow him. To be honest I am afraid because the challenges that face me are so great ( to run for a seat) and if I run temptations will be so great as well, but from my heart I tell you that I’d rather die in Christ right now that to step one step away from his ways. My dear brother, I don’t really know why I told all this to you, perhaps I shouldn’t. I was just going to ask if you could recommend some books to me to know more about theology (i am honestly begging to think that I will have to do like you and study theology informally). Don’t worry about getting back me if you feel it’s not from the Lord’s what I told you and if you are too busy. I understand. And your website itself is already a good study guide. If you can however I will be greatly thankful, more than I already am. Christ’s peace!

  2. Great to hear from you Alexandre. Thanks for stopping in to read this blog! What first comes to mind is the importance of grasping the gospel, the importance of Christ and Him crucified. To this end I would recommend …

    The Cross of Christ by John Stott

    The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges

    Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney

    The Great Work of the Gospel by John Ensor

    Read and study these books and you be well on your way to understanding and applying the very heart of the faith.

    Blessings upon your reading!


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