sexta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2016


Jesus turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God,
but merely human concerns.”
Matthew 16:23 (read 16:21-28) – NIV

For a while Peter was on the pedestal, praised by Jesus as being fortunate and enlightened by God. He had confessed Jesus as Messiah, the Son of the living God (v17). But shortly after that, Jesus called him Satan and told Peter to get behind him, because he had become a stumbling block. What happened? Where did Peter go wrong?

Peter’s problem was in reconciling practice with vision. By faith he had a vision of the greatness of Jesus, but did not understand its implications in practice. The proposal of Jesus to go to Jerusalem to face suffering and death was too much for Peter to accept! The cross was incompatible with greatness. But for Jesus, avoiding the cross would be satanic, thus Peter became Satan.

We should not criticize or condemn Peter. He represents the majority of followers of Jesus today. Over the centuries, the Church has developed a beautiful vision of God and His Kingdom. Millions of books have been written and billions of sermons extolling His greatness, nature and glory. "Vision" has never lacked.

The problem is our satanic practice despite this vision. Our imagination associates evil forces of darkness with the satanic and tyranny with the antichrist. We imagine Satan as the complete "bogeyman" with horns, goat legs, pointed tail and breathing fire and smoke. Peter was not any of this! He was a disciple with "correct theology", but seeking to avoid the cross. His satanic practice was putting survival and personal interests above the cross.

Inspired by the life and death of Jesus, the Church has adopted the cross as a symbol. But has the cross in reality become a mere decoration? Is Christianity, with its emphasis on self-promotion that spends most of the tithes of the faithful in maintaining its heavy structure not satanic? Churches are respected by society, and represent no threat to the forces of evil. They seek official recognition and privileges. They reflect the comfortable value systems of their cultures, and avoid the cross of being identified with the poor, the homeless, the foreigner, the sick and the downtrodden minorities.

Jerusalem represented the forces of evil. It was the center of political and economic power which dominated and exploited the people. Jesus went to Jerusalem and confronted those powers by identifying himself with the exploited segments of society. His acceptance by the common people was seen as a threat to the power structure. His destiny was the cross.

Is our good relationship with the “Jerusalem” of our society not satanic? Do we live with the illusion of a “Christian America” while in reality it seethes with bias, fear, hate, violence and injustice while promoting war and suffering on a global scale in its effort to control the world and occupy a privileged position among nations? Do we want to be privileged and dominate within our society? Do we profess Christ but avoid the cross by blindly taking of the banner of cheap patriotism and blaming evil on the victims and the downtrodden of society? Are we dominated by fear and greed and want to shut others out? Do we impose crosses on others rather than take up the cross ourselves by following the example of Jesus with open arms to the sufferers? Could Jesus be repeating these words to us today: "Get behind me, Satan!"?


From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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