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  • Chad Werkhoven

Matthew 16:21-28 - Satanic Prayers

The last thing you want to hear back from Jesus when you say 'amen' is "Get behind me, Satan!"

Read / Listen

Read Matthew 16:21-28

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 124

Q. What does the third request mean?

A. “Your will be done on earth

as it is in heaven” means,

Help us and all people

to reject our own wills

and to obey your will

without any back talk.

Your will alone is good.

Help us one and all to carry out

the work we are called to,

as willingly and faithfully

as the angels in heaven.



Peter's recognition that Jesus is the Son of God forms a hinge in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke); it's the point at which things change significantly in Jesus' earthly ministry. This is noticeable in the way that Matthew begins this passage which immediately follows Peter's confession with the words "from that time on...".

Many of the people, including the disciples, thought that Jesus had come in order to make life on earth a little better. Perhaps someday He'd even be their king like what David was and would free them from Rome's oppressive yoke. But Jesus makes clear that His purpose is different: He was headed to Jerusalem to "suffer many things... be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (v21)"

Suffering and being killed didn't match up with what Peter's concept of Jesus' ministry should be (notice that Peter is so taken aback by Jesus saying He'd be killed that he completely misses Jesus saying He'd be raised to life!). Peter, being the speak first and think later type of guy he was, "rebuked" Jesus! Suffering and death didn't fit into any sort of picture of worldly success.

We're used to seeing Jesus respond to the Pharisees and other bad guys with sharp language, but the most stinging of all of Jesus' words are the ones He spoke to His chief disciple: "Get behind me, Satan!"

Dig Deeper

Imagine the look of horror on Peter's face upon hearing the very man he'd just identified as the Messianic Son of God call him Satan. Certainly Peter's outburst could be considered back talk, to borrow language from the catechism, but why did it warrant such a dramatic response from our Lord?

Theologian Louis Berkhof writes, "The name 'Satan' points to him as 'the Adversary,' not in the first place of man, but of God." In other words, anytime our own will becomes, as Jesus called it, "a stumbling block" to what God has ordained, our actions are by definition satanic.

How much of your life is consumed with the things of man rather than the things of God? How often are your prayers filled with trying to lobby God to support your own concerns rather than praying that His will be done in your own life just as it is in heaven? How many times would Jesus be justified in responding "Get behind me, Satan," the moment you say "amen?"

This is why it is so critically important that you pray consistently and often that your will is aligned with God's will.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is in heaven and whose name is holy;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Your will be done, on earth (and in my life) just as it is in heaven;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 3


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