Set Your Mind on the Things of God

Get Thee Behind Me Satan

Get Thee behind Me Satan (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Matthew 16:21–23 (ESV)

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Parallel Text: Mark 8:31-33

Understanding and Applying the Word

After Peter’s proclamation that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah that the Jewish people had been waiting for in the previous verses (see yesterday’s post), Jesus began to teach the disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and be killed. This was surprising news to Jesus’ followers because this is not what they expected when the Messiah came. They expected he would establish the nation of Israel as a great power, throw off the bonds of Rome, and restore Israel to a place of prominence like it enjoyed under the reign of King David. How could Jesus, the Messiah, need to go to Jerusalem to die?

When Peter heard these words from Jesus, he spoke up and declared that this would never happen to Jesus! Peter surely believed he would defend and protect Jesus from such a thing. He must have been quite surprised at Jesus’ words: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Why did Jesus respond to Peter in this manner?

Jesus’ words to Peter were pointed, but they were designed to drive home a point to Peter and the disciples. Jesus wanted them to understand that submission to the plans and purposes of God is the most important thing, even if it means death. Peter was only concerned with the fulfillment of his personal desires. Jesus was concerned with doing the will of the Father. God was bringing salvation to mankind through the suffering and death of Jesus.

Are we ready and willing to submit to the will of God in our own lives? What if that means we have to move out of our comfort zones? What if it means suffering? What if it means loss of freedom or even loss of life? Do we trust in the plans and purposes of God enough to lay aside our own desires for his?

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Who Is My Family?

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Reading the Word

Matthew 12:46–50 (ESV)

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Parallel Texts: Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21

Understanding and Applying the Word

While Jesus was drawing crowds and rumors about him being the Messiah were spreading, his family came to see him. Mark tells us in 3:20-21 that they thought Jesus was “out of his mind.” John tells us in 7:1-5 that at least some of his brothers did not believe in him. When word was brought to Jesus that his mother and brothers wanted to speak to him, he replied, “Who are my mother and brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

With these words, Jesus tells us who is true family is. They are the disciples who live in obedience to the will of God. Jesus’ true followers enter into a relationship with him that is more significant and longer lasting than that of a biological family. The family of God is open to all who believe and follow Christ. The Church is the representation of this family in the world. We belong to the family of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. And we ought to think of our spiritual family in the same way that Jesus did. It is of great and eternal significance!

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Fishers of Men

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Reading the Bible

Matthew 4:12–22 (ESV)

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Parallel Texts: Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-51

Understanding and Applying the Word

After his baptism and temptation, Jesus begin his ministry to the world. As he begin to preach, he calls on fishermen to leave their nets behind and follow him. Jesus’ words to these men were “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” We are told that they immediately left fishing to follow Jesus.

Imagine being called to leave your job and security behind to follow Jesus. The first disciples did just that. They left fishing, which was their livelihood, to follow a man they knew little about, but they were trusting he was someone special. Of course, they would soon realize that he was the long-awaited Messiah and the Son of God (Matthew 16:15-16). And these disciples were going to spend the rest of their days telling the world about Jesus, the One who died and rose again to give life to all who would believe. It is the same message and the same task that all believers have been given. Jesus truly is someone very special!

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