Journal Matt 16 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “And Peter took (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!  This (suffering and dying) shall never happen to you.”  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.”  (Matt 16:22-23)


Observation: Always looking for the key phrase to focus upon…


Analysis: It is too easy to focus on Jesus calling Peter “Blessed” and “the Rock of the Church”, and in a few more moments calling him “Satan” and a “hinderance.”  (By the way, that is not the proper response to a rebuke, if one comes my way…)


I think that the sentence, “For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”, reflects the phrase I am most familiar with: “Get your head on straight, dummy!!”  What are the scriptures that back this up?


  • “Do not lean on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5
  • “Renew your mind…”  Romans 12:2
  • “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth…” Colossians 3:2


And we see the Psalmist in 119 crying all over the place: “Give me understanding that I might conform to your will…”


Maybe Peter thought he was showing care for Jesus by telling him, “Not you, Jesus.  Don’t think of yourself like that.”  Jesus called Peter on it, knowing his head wasn’t in the right place.  Why wasn’t Peter’s head in the right place?


One: we needed the lesson.  Two: I don’t know, but I know it happens to me a lot.  I start thinking like a natural man, an earthy man, a man highly influenced by indwelling sin.


No easy answer.  Just another reminder to study to show myself approved, correctly dividing the Word of Truth in my daily life and conduct.

Note: Setting my mind, leaning not into my own understanding are not just “spiritual” thoughts: they are everyday requirements to walk worthy of the Gospel.


Prayer:  Father, you see me sitting here, in turmoil with this letter in my hands—what should I do?  I am torn between two choices, both of them unsavory to me.  I am inclined to bite the bullet and execute the plan that is needed just to get the result I am required to have.


Help me, O God!!  Forgive me for my procrastination that was a good part of today’s facing issue.



Rick Sutton