Trouble? Check your course.

After feeding the 4,000 hungry people – probably in northern Galilee – Jesus and the boys head up north to the foot of Mount Hermon, to Caesarea Philippi.

He quizzes them about what people are saying and asks them who they say he is. Peter – ever quick to speak – affirms that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus tells them to keep this quiet. (Jesus understood the Father’s plan and that there was timing in the plan. He had been saying the time wasn’t right since his first miracle in Cana.)

Then, Jesus is pretty straightforward with the twelve about what is going to happen to him: suffering, death, and resurrection.

Peter – a well meaning, action oriented guy who often stepped out without thinking – took Jesus aside and criticized him (rebuked) for this teaching about the plan. I imagine Peter and Jesus may have had their backs to the others during this disagreement. Scripture says…

“But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭8:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus, ever the master teacher, uses this teachable moment and teaches not only the twelve but the gathered crowd. This begins one of those times where Jesus describes the high cost of being his disciple. (The emphasis on this hard teaching caused many to turn away from Jesus.)

Practically speaking, we can learn much from this. First, Peter was quick with opinion and criticism.

This is a common problem.

Jesus knew it was a common problem so he shares the teaching with all the listeners present.

Second, if we read the verse carefully, we can see that Jesus is saying that we should set our sights on God, not the world – which we may conclude is under the influence of the enemy.

“But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭8:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The good news is that, though Peter’s quick (and thoughtless) actions and words would continue to get him in trouble, Jesus still chose and used him in awesome ways.


Just as Peter rebuked Jesus, you and I sometimes speak and act too quick. There are times we don’t like certain aspects of teachings in the Bible. (See Buffet Christianity in an earlier post.)

But Paul reminds us not to think of ourselves too highly.

When, like Peter, I’m free with reaction and criticism, that’s a pretty sure sign that I’m off course and need to reset my heart and mind to God, to the throne of grace. And, just like Peter received forgiveness and reconciliation for his too quick mouth and actions, I can too.

Much later, after describing his own wretchedness, Paul exclaimed “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! There is NO CONDEMNATION for we who are IN Christ.

In trouble? Reset your course and run with boldness to the throne of Grace! There we find forgiveness, grace, and course correction.

Thanks be to God!

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