Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Satan Struggles”

Categories: NEW TESTAMENT, RELATIONSHIPS, SATAN
     Jesus said "Get behind me, Satan!" in Matt 16:23 and Mark 8:33, but throughout the whole chapters of Matthew 16 and Mark 8, there are no details given if the devil is literally present at this scene or of him taking any action or starting a dialogue.  It just says Jesus mentioned the word "Satan."  A buddy tells me that Peter is possessed by the devil, but I'm not so sure about that because he doesn't act like a demoniac, and also Peter seems so concerned about Jesus after Christ telling him about His suffering and death.  Another buddy suggests that since Matt 16:23 says "Jesus turned and said to Peter...", Christ is calling Peter a "Satan" or, more literally, an adversary, but how do you explain this?

Sincerely,
A Little Help Please

Dear A Little Help Please,

The word 'satan' literally just means 'adversary'.  Context decides whether or not 'satan' is referring to the great adversary or just a normal adversary or opponent.  The latter part of Matt 16:23 makes it clear that Jesus is telling Peter that he is opposing God's will and being an adversary to God's plans.  There is no reason to believe Peter was possessed – Peter just wasn't respecting God's wishes.