Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. Mark 8:33 NKJV
Remember, the gospels are a narrative genre requires us to look at the full context of any specific verse to fully understand what is being communicating. As you read, ask yourself two questions:
(1) What further insight does this reveal about Jesus as Messiah?
(2) As His disciple, how should I respond to Him?
Read Mark 8:27-38.
In verses 27-29 Jesus asks His disciples who people were saying He was. Then He asked His disciples the same question and Peter replied “You are the Christ”. In verse 31 Jesus explains what’s going to happen to Him. In verse 32 a paraphrase of Peter, “No way, Lord, let it not happen to you.” In verse 33 Jesus replies with today’s verse above. In the remaining verses Jesus teaches about the commitment required in being one of His disciples.
Jesus’ rebuke of Peter is a strong one which re-enforces the importance we should place on our thoughts. If we allow our thoughts to dwell on our self, our desires and what’s best for us, we are effectively walking with Satan rather than with our Lord.
When Jesus says whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow Me, He was indicating the kind of commitment required to be His disciple. First, He says him deny himself. This is not a martyr mentality, but rather a choice to think of others instead of self. That is so contrary to our natural thoughts, isn’t it? Would you be willing to do that? Second, He says take up the cross which seems to indicate the need for crucifying all that is not of God in our life. It is a symbolic way of describing the purifying process in our life as we strip away all that would hinder our walk with the Lord. Third, He says follow Me. This step can only be accomplished if, in fact, the first two steps are carried out.
As Christ, Jesus is mindful of God’s will and carries out God’s plan no matter what. In this section of scripture, Jesus is revealing what it takes to be one of His disciples. God is calling us to a higher way of living. A life marked by selflessness and a relentless focus on the things of God rather than the things of men.
So what are you mindful of; things of this world, your own well-being or things of God?
The choice is yours. Who do you want to follow? The One who came to give you life or the one who wants to steal, kill and destroy all that is from God?
Lord, thank you for who you are. Thank you for your word of truth. Increase our understanding of you by rightly interpreting your word. In Jesus’ name Amen.
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