In Matt. 16:22-23 (NIV) Peter didn't want Jesus to suffer and die. From a human perspective this isn't quite an evil wish, but why did Jesus condemn this as from evil by saying

23 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.”

Why is it from Satan that Peter wanted to save Jesus? What is evil about this?

  • There was no evil in Peter but t was a form of temptation for Jesus. In this verse, Satan means a tempter. So basically Peter was tempting or offering Jesus a different way and that made Jesus little "angry". He was with them and telling them he must die and they still didn't get it. – Grasper Dec 19 '17 at 21:45

Wanting to save a life is not of itself evil. However in this case Peter's desire is directly contrary to the will of God (and also Jesus' own will). It is God's intention that Jesus sacrifice himself to redeem all of humankind, and Peter's wish to prevent this would have disastrous consequences for the whole of humanity.

  • Even though this is a good answer, it is not fully true that if Jesus wouldn't die it would be disastrous. He could have found different way to save us but he chose to suffer because he wanted to show how much he loved us. – Grasper Dec 19 '17 at 21:47

"Satan" is a Hebrew word (שָׂטָן - śā·ṭān) meaning "Adversary" (see, e.g., Numbers 22:22), usually used though as a proper name of the devil (e.g. Job 1:6 etc.).

Peter is called "Satan" here because he sets himself as an adversary to Jesus, opposing the will of God. He is even called a skandalon (NIV offense) - an obstacle or "stumbling block".

The Apostles had been taught to always pray that God's will be done (Matthew 6:10). Jesus had also taught the Apostles that whoever was not with Him was against Him (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). Peter, however, as the verse states, had not the things of God (NIV concerns of God), but rather the things of man in mind.

One might be tempted to excuse Peter's ignorance that it was God's will for Jesus to suffer and die, but he had just been told this clearly and directly by Jesus (v.21). Nor can Peter be excused for not understanding that what Jesus said must happen must reflect the divine will, since he (Peter) himself had just affirmed that Jesus was the Son of the living God (v.16), and even received praise for this (v.17).

Exactly why Jesus needed to suffer and be killed is a different and important question. But I do not think this other question needs to be considered in order to logically answer the question you pose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.