“Don’t resist the devil…” and watch what happens. Wouldn’t this be the counsel of the Apostle Peter from his interaction with the enemy of th souls of men?
In Mark 8:31-9:1, Peter takes Satan’s side in opposing the plan of the Father to send the Son of God to the cross. Having understood who he was, Jesus explains to the disciples why he came. There is an order to truth. Openness and readiness to receive one truth paths the way for another unfolding of God’s truth to believing hearts.
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer…and be rejected…and that he must be killed…and after three days rise again.”
Peter’s mouth, which had just opened with life-giving truth – “You are the Christ,” now opens with a death-engaging lie – “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”
The response of Jesus was rapid – Resistance was not futile, it was imperative. “…he rebuked Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!”
This stinging rebuke is written for anyone to process. But the Lord who rebukes, is also the one who restores. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you (all of you apostles) as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” We track also the post-resurrection love restoration between Jesus and Peter in John 21.
It should come as no surprise that Peter pens a full paragraph in his first letter on the Christian’s response to the devil.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the evil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Resist the devil and he will flee. Don’t resist the devil and….. The chapters of many individuals, families, churches and nations are filled with such consequences. May we be vigilant! The picture accompanying today’s post is from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and is entitled “The Christian and Apollyon.”