Thursday, August 25, 2011


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 16:21-28

TO CHEW ON: "Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, 'Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!' 

But He turned aside 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 16:22-23

I feel the vicarious sting on Peter's behalf when Jesus calls him "Satan." Yikes! Jesus also calls him an offense.

[Offense - skandalon: Originally a trapstick, a bent sapling, or a movable stick with bait used to catch animals. The word then came to denote a snare or stumbling block. Metaphorically it signifies that which causes error or sin" - Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1321.]

The source of the temptation or snare Satan laid for Jesus through Peter here is listed in my Thompson Chain Bible under "Enticers." (Other temptation sources are Worldly Snares, Seducers, and Evil Companions.) A quick jog through the Bible looking at some other enticing situations show us how ubiquitous and subtle such temptation is.

  • Deuteronomy 13:6 warns against enticement by someone close (brother, child, spouse, friend) to serve other gods.
  • Proverbs 1:10 names sinners as potential enticers.
  • Proverbs 16:29 warns against being enticed by a neighbour.
  • Proverbs 28:10 is a caution to people who cause the upright to go astray, and predicts that they (the tempters) will fall into their own pit.
  • Amos 2:12 identifies enticing the Nazirite to drink wine and the prophet to stop prophesying as acts that will provoke God's judgment (Amos 2:14-16).
  • Matthew 4:6 is the account of Satan trying to entice Jesus to a rash act of supernatural bravado to prove His deity. Satan even quotes scripture to make his temptation sound legitimate.
  • Matthew 24:26 is Jesus' warning against the enticement of identifying other people as Christ on earth after He ascended into heaven.
  • Acts 13:8 - identifies Elymas the sorcerer as someone who tried to entice pro-consul Sergius Paulus from believing the truth of Paul and Barnabas's testimony.
  • Our example of Peter's words to Jesus show how subtle this temptation is—the words of a friend insisting: Surely it's not going to be as bad as you say. God wouldn't have that in His plan for you.

I ask myself, am I ever an enticer? Do I try to downplay the costs of discipleship in others' lives, encouraging them to magnify self-interest, ease, or common sense above God's claims on them?

Are there enticers in my life? People who would try to make me dilute my loyalty to Jesus?

Jesus' reaction to Peter's enticement to avoid the cross show that this is no insignificant or frivolous temptation

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to recognize the sly voice of enticement to avoid the cross-life. Help me to avoid enticing others. Amen

MORE: Enticement: a shortcut and a shifted point of view

"... Temptation is a suggested short-cut to the realization of the highest at which I aim—not towards what I understand as evil, but towards what I understand as good ..."

"... Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, viz., the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come on the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil" - Oswald Chambers - My Utmost for His Highest, September 17 &18 readings.

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