But he turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense to me: for you mind not the things that be of God…
This brings before us another relation in which our Lord's sufferings stand. We have seen their relation as a testing of that higher truth to which St. Peter had given expression. Now we see how they bore on that particular mission which Jesus came to carry out. His sufferings were essential to that mission. He saved the world by his sufferings.
I. OUR LORD'S PURPOSE TO ENDURE SUFFERINGS. It should be clearly seen that our Lord knew beforehand all that was to happen to him; and he might have avoided all the pain and distress. Instead, he voluntarily determined to go steadily along the path, bearing and enduring all, because that was the Father's will for him. Explain in this way: Our Lord had to present to God the living sacrifice of a perfectly obedient Son. But he could not be a perfectly obedient Son if his obedience had not been adequately tested. The series of sufferings through which our Lord passed are the various testings of his Sonship. And because Christ was resolved to make the great redeeming sacrifice, he resolved to bear and endure every way in which the Father might be pleased to test his Sonship. A violent and shameful death was the final test.
II. OUR LORD'S OFFENCE AT THOSE WHO WOULD HINDER HIM FROM ENDURING HIS SUFFERINGS. They did the work of the flesh, which shrinks from suffering; they did not help the sanctified will to gain free expression. St. Peter became a tempter, a worker of evil; one who did the work of an adversary, of man's great adversary. Our Lord here uses the word "Satan" as a figure, without reference to the personal devil. Any adversary, any one who works against our best interests, is a Satan. To withdraw Christ from his sufferings was to withdraw Christ from his mission; since he could only be made "perfect," as a Bringer on of souls, by the experience and testing of suffering. Olshausen thinks that St. Peter forgot himself, and presumed upon the praise which Christ had given him for his noble confession. But it is better, in each case, to treat St. Peter as a mere representative, a mere spokesman, and to see how very imperfect an apprehension of Christ's deeper truth his words involve. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.