This is a story about two rebukes: Peter rebukes Jesus, and Jesus rebukes Peter.
There are certain times when we are especially vulnerable to temptation. One obvious example is when we are tired. When we are tired, we do not see things clearly and we are less careful in what we say. We are less patient and more easily provoked.
For example, when the disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to them, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). It was late at night and they were tired, so they did not watch and they did not pray, and they fell into temptation.
But what we find here in this story is that we are more prone to temptation when we are blessed. Peter had just confessed faith in Jesus, and Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” (Mat. 16:17). Peter experienced the blessing of God, and that’s when he fell into temptation.
It is not hard to see how this happened. Jesus said, “You are blessed,” and Peter thought: That’s right. I am blessed. Jesus said, “My Father in heaven has revealed this to you,” and Peter thought: That’s right. The Father is revealing things to me. The blessing of God goes to his head, and pride comes before a fall (Prov. 16:18).
The blessing of God comes, and arrogance and presumption follow. You are so sure of yourself that you are no longer listening to Jesus. Watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation.
Written by Colin Smith
Read by Sue McLeish www.openthebible.org.uk