Humble Hero


Satan Was Trying to Get at Christ

Satan was trying to discourage Jesus and turn Him from His mission, and Peter was the one speaking the temptation! The prince of evil, the author of the thought, was behind Peter’s impulsive appeal. Satan had offered Christ the rulership of the world, if He would only forsake the path of humiliation and sacrifice. Now he was trying to fasten Peter’s gaze on earthly glory, so that he would not see the cross. Through Peter, he was again pressing the temptation on Jesus. HH 192.4

But the Savior did not respond to the temptation. His thought was for His disciple. Satan had come between Peter and his Master. Christ spoke to the one trying to separate Peter from his Redeemer: “Get behind Me, Satan!” “Let Me come face to face with Peter, so that I may reveal to him the mystery of My love.” HH 192.5

It was a bitter lesson, and Peter learned it slowly: the path of Christ led through agony and humiliation. But in the heat of the furnace fire, the disciple was to learn the blessing of that path. Long afterward, he wrote, “Rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13, NRSV. HH 192.6

Jesus now explained to His disciples that His own life of self-denial was an example of what theirs should be: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” The cross, associated with the power of Rome, was the most cruel and humiliating form of death. Criminals were required to carry the cross to the place of execution. Often when it was laid on their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence until the soldiers overpowered them. The disciples only dimly comprehended Jesus’ words, but they recognized that He spoke of their submission to death for the sake of Christ. HH 192.7

The Savior’s words could not have pictured any more complete self-surrender. But all this He had accepted for them. He left heaven for a life of reproach and insult and a death of shame. He was rich in heaven’s priceless treasure, but He became poor so that through His poverty we could be rich. We are to follow in the path He walked. HH 193.1

Love for others means crucifixion of self. Those who are children of God should look on themselves as links in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost. Christians have consecrated themselves to God, and in character they are to reveal Christ to the world. HH 193.2

“Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Selfishness is death. The heart that fails to send its lifeblood to the hand and the head would quickly lose its power. So is the love of Christ spread through every part of His spiritual body. We are members one of another, and whoever refuses to give will perish. “What will it profit a man,” said Jesus, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” HH 193.3

Christ pointed the disciples to His coming in glory with the angels of heaven. Then He said, “He will reward each according to his works.” And for their encouragement, He promised, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” HH 193.4

But the disciples did not grasp His words. They were focused on the poverty, humiliation, and suffering. Did this mean that they would not see their Lord exalted to the throne of David? Could it be that Christ would be despised, rejected, and put to death? Sadness filled their hearts, for it seemed unbelievable that the Son of God would suffer such cruel humiliation. Why should He voluntarily go to Jerusalem to meet the treatment He would receive there? How could He resign Himself to such a fate and leave them in greater darkness than they were groping in before He revealed Himself to them? HH 193.5

The disciples reasoned that in the region of Caesarea Philippi Christ had nothing to fear from the hatred of the Jews or from the power of the Romans. Why not work there? Why give Himself up to death? If He were to die, how could He establish His kingdom so firmly that the gates of hell would not prevail against it? This was indeed a mystery. HH 193.6

Even now they were traveling toward the city where all their hopes were going to be crushed. They talked together in low, sorrowful tones about the future. Perhaps some unforeseen event might avert the doom that seemed in store for their Lord. In this way, they doubted, hoped, and feared for six long, gloomy days. HH 193.7