Saturday, January 12, 2008

Get thee behind me, satan


We have discussed this odd statement of Jesus ("Get thee behind me, Satan!") before. There is no good or solid evidence that this was ever addressed to any particular disciple.

In context, Jesus was foretelling some of the disastrous difficulties he was about to encounter. Out of a no-doubt genuine Love, Peter tried to comfort him. But this Peter did by contradicting the revelations just given to Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

In a perhaps unguarded moment of anguish and agony, the lower nature of Jesus (his human side; fear or "satan") manifested itself. It said that perhaps he could avoid all the suffering and pain of his assignment, so he rebuked it.

Although it seems odd to us, most Biblical commentators agree that Jesus was speaking to this part of himself-- his human nature, and its dangerous fear-component. Since he knew that this story would be repeated, he also said these words as a teaching for his followers, such as you and me, still to be born in the future.

Jesus was not a cruel man, and did not set an example of speaking harshly to others. But he was often quite strict with his own weaknesses, and, often, what we might think of as an overly strict disciplinarian with himself. He had to be ultracautious lest the "satan" (fear-factor) within his human heartmind tried to take over and run, and ruin, his life.

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