Read Matthew 16:13-28
Jesus called him Simon son of Jonah. It was the name he had before he’d met Jesus. Before God the Father had revealed the truth about Jesus the Messiah to this humble fisherman from the town of Bethsaida. What he’d been called all his life. And then He called him blessed. It means happy. To be envied.
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah . . . (v17)
And then Jesus proclaimed the new Simon’s position. He called him Peter, the Rock upon which He Himself would build His church. When Peter spoke the truth of Who Jesus really was, Who He still is today, God the Son gave him the keys to the very Kingdom of Heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (v19).
It was a pretty good day for Simon Peter, I imagine. A new name with which he had not only proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ the Son of God, but also with which he would hold authority in eternity. A good day, indeed, speaking truth about Jesus to Jesus Himself, praising His very name, seems to have that effect.
I imagine that at the thought of the keys and of heaven and the authority which Simon Peter could now claim, he envisioned mighty angels and a beautiful throne. So when he heard Jesus’ talk about suffering at the hands of religious authorities, it did not settle well. Not only did Jesus’ words sound crazy and depressing, they cut to the quik of all that Simon Peter had just gained. For if Jesus had to suffer, then what would Peter have to do?
I believe that’s why he took Jesus aside that day and quietly rebuked him. For, although he had loved what Jesus had told him just 4 verses earlier, the things He said now were downright hurtful to a man who’d just gained the whole world. Hurtful, that is, from a self-centered I’m-finally-getting-ahead-in-this-world perspective. So when Jesus heard the self come out of Peter’s words, the old nature that makes people seek the opposite of God’s upside-down ways, He rebuked Peter strongly.
And the man He’d just called blessed was now being called Satan by Jesus Himself.
It’s a picture of what happens when we speak truth from God’s perspective and then let our own sinful view of things taint the picture. One minute, Jesus is giving giving Simon Peter the very keys of heaven, and the next minute he’s calling him Satan himself. Let us take heed lest we fall to that self-focus as well.