The Satan-Man

J. D. Conley
August 3, 2014

The vile nomenclature printed above is not referring to any particular despot or tyrannical dictator who has imposed his sinful will upon the masses. Sadly, there are no doubt many men, past or present, who would fully fit the description. But the one to whom it applies is surprising because he is not thought of in this way. Rather he is revered by most and even lionized by some. Furthermore, the one who referred to him in this manner was truthful in his description. Are you prepared for the answer? Jesus Christ was the One who labeled a man this way, and that man was none other than the apostle Peter! Peter was a man, and Jesus called him Satan, hence he is the "Satan-man" of this article.

The occasion on which the Lord tagged Peter in this unflattering way was shortly after Peter had made the great confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt.16:16). In happy reply Jesus then told Peter "Blessed art thou..." (v.17). Then in (v.23) we find Jesus telling him "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me." How unsettling to see Peter fall out of favor with Jesus so quickly. What had he done to bring about the Lord's wrath and condemnation? Peter had rebuked Him, (v.22). The impetuous Peter had taken Him aside and scolded Him saying that none of the things Jesus had said in (v.21) would come to pass. What things? His suffering, death and subsequent resurrection from the dead. Peter felt as sure about this as he did about Jesus being the Christ. Maybe he thought it was his responsibility to inform Jesus of His "error," maybe he thought he was doing the Lord a favor, being his friend and reassuring Him these horrible things wouldn’t take place. But the Lord was very much displeased! In addition to calling him Satan, and ordering Peter to get behind Him, He adds "Thou art an offense unto me." Peter caused the Lord great offense because he essentially denied everything Christ had just foretold. This denial ran contrary to God’s will and in line with his own human will. This is why Jesus charged, "thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

The recording of this exchange between the Lord and Peter in (Mt.16:21-23) ought to serve as a lesson for all Christians. Just because we believe in the Lord and profess to love Him, does not insulate us from doing the same thing Peter did. It is nothing less than Satanic to act according to our human reasoning when it comes to spiritual matters. It matters not how sincere we are. Not even the apostle Peter was excused for his sincerity. How joyous to know that later on, Peter became and remained God’s man, and the inspired penman of these sweet and hopeful words, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pet.2:24).