Towards the end of His earthly ministry Jesus repeatedly told His followers that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer, be crucified but come back to life on the third day (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22-27). Peter rebuked Him and said it would never happen! In response Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22-27). Satan was subtly attacking Jesus through Peter, making a way for Him to avoid the cross. This was a repeat of the temptation in the wilderness after Jesus was baptized.
Almost 3 years after being baptized by John, Jesus revealed that one of the twelve He chose was being used by Satan (John 6:70). Judas, in his pride and greed, will allow Satan to indwell him (Luke 22:3-4).
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus” (Luke 22:3-4). Being demonized is terrible, being ‘Satanized’ is beyond comprehension. The only other person recorded to be indwelt by Satan is the antichrist (Revelation 13:2, 14-15). Satan wants to handle this with Jesus himself and not take a chance by letting even one of his top demons do the job. It is that important. Everything depends on keeping Jesus from dying and rising again. If they fail it will mean hell for them for all eternity!
LESSON FOR TODAY: Some of Satan’s attacks are overt, clear attempts to overpower us. But the more successful ones are subtle and often go unnoticed. Without being aware of it Peter is being used by Satan to tempt Jesus to avoid the cross. We don’t know if Satan inserted the thought into Peter’s mind or just used what He said to tempted Jesus. Either way Jesus recognized Satan was behind it and using it. Satan will use those closest to us to mislead us if possible. He will use seemingly innocent comments by those closest to us to influence us in the direction he wants us to go. Perhaps this is why Satan allowed Job’s wife to remain when he took everyone else in his family (Job 2:9). He used Eve, who was deceived, to influence Adam, who knew what he was doing was wrong (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14).
LESSON FOR TODAY: In order for Satan to use Peter, Peter had to be open and available. There had to be negative thoughts of fear and/or pride in Peter which he fed and allowed to remain. Then Satan was able to work through Peter and use him to tempt Jesus. It is of the utmost importance to keep every thought and feeling captive to Jesus (Romans 12:1-2), to make sure they all line up with the Word of God.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)