When a Rebuke is Not Rejection

Jesus said to them, “Follow after me and I will make you fish for people” (Mark 1.17)

(Jesus) rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (Mark 8.33)

Beginning his ministry, Jesus called disciples, saying, “Follow after me.”

Nearing the end of his ministry, Jesus, longing to know whether his disciples knew who he was, asked them, “Who do you say I am?” Hearing Peter declare, “You are the Messiah!”, Jesus, necessarily, revealed more (the most!) of the heart of his mission. He told them that he would suffer and die. Peter, unable, unwilling to accept such a destiny for the Messiah, rebuked Jesus, leading Jesus to rebuke Peter in the harshest terms, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Interestingly (astonishingly!), Jesus summoned and scolded Peter with the same language! (In the original Greek text of New Testament, the word όpίsō can be translated into English as “after” as in “Follow after me” and as “behind” as in “Get behind me”.) Thus, interpretatively, although Jesus’ admonishment of Peter is severe, he does not cast Peter out, but rather reminds him of his proper place as a follower.

This prevailing patience of Jesus is a comfort to me in the (many!) moments when I, facing the difficulty of Christian living, especially the command to love all people, would prefer to follow my own will and, thus, choose to reject Jesus’ call.

© 2021 PRA


Jesus calling Peter and Andrew, James Tissot (1836-1902)

Jesus rebuking Peter, James Tissot

2 thoughts on “When a Rebuke is Not Rejection

  1. Thank you Paul!!

    It’s been soooo hard at times to follow Jesus. I’ve never been much of a follower! By profession and training I’m trained to lead. The last few years thankfully I have learned to rely on my faith and follow Jesus even when I didn’t understand!! Doing so has almost always served me well even when I didn’t want to do it!! Hopefully as I continue to age, I’ll continue to follow, without question!!



  2. Oh, my dear Loretta, I believe that our Lord Jesus can handle our questions. Indeed, I believe that he welcomes them. For Jesus bids we follow him with the whole of our selves, which, hand-in-hand with our faith, includes our doubts.

    So, let us follow Jesus in faith and with our wonderments!



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