One of the most well-known statements in all of Scripture is found in Matthew 16:16, where Peter made what is often called “the good confession.” Much could be said of the religious error and confusion about Jesus’ response in verse 18, but I want to focus on the verses that follow, specifically verses 21-23.
Following Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, Jesus began to teach them about His suffering and death which would be accomplished in Jerusalem.
Rebuked by Peter for these sayings, Jesus identified the thinking and statement of Peter with that of Satan, concluding, “for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (v 23).
How did Peter get here so quickly? How did he get from “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah” to “Get behind Me, Satan!”?
The answer might be found in the parable of the sower. Each of the three synoptic accounts use different words to describe what the good soil does with the seed. In Matthew, the good soil is one who hears the word and understandsit (13:23). In Mark, the good soil is one who hears the word and receivesit (4:20). In Luke, the good soil is one who hears the word and keepsit (8:15).
In Peter’s case, it is obvious that he recognized the facts and truth concerning the person and Deity of Jesus. He understoodit. BUT! He had not receivedit. The word “received” means to accept and make as one’s own. In other words, he knew the facts; he just hadn’t permitted them to shape his thinking. Even at the end of Jesus’ ministry, He declared Peter as “unconverted.” He didn’t mean he wasn’t saved, only that there were many changes yet needed in Peter’s thinking.
How often am I guilty of the same? Having declared my faith in and allegiance to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, how often do I fail to take what I know and allow it to transform me?
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2).