In a world such as ours, the question of who is in charge enters every conceivable arena of life. For thousands of years tyrants have contrived to rule over all the world, but God has destined that only one man should rule all the world and His name is Jesus. For 3 years the disciples walked along side of a man who gave every indication that He was God incarnate. He made bread and fish from nothing, He calmed the wind and the storm with a word, He practically vanquished all disease from Israel, and He taught with wisdom beyond human reasoning’s. It became clear to Jesus’ disciples after His resurrection from the dead who He was, and so much so that His disciple Thomas referred to Him as, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
And yet before the true identity of Jesus became fully known to His disciples they were confused as to who was in charge. Israel was under the thumb of the Romans, the religious leaders threw anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ out of the temple, and Jesus seemed to flee from any opportunity to lead the people to victory. “And He warned them to tell no one about Him.” (Mark 8:30)
If Jesus’ disciples really believed Jesus to be God then they would have believed every word that came out of His mouth as true, but that was not always the case. On one occasion Peter revealed the fact that he did not always believe Jesus to be correct; Jesus taught His disciples and Peter rebuked Him for it.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” (Mark 8:30-32)
In Matthew’s account he added the words, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." (Matthew 16:22) The scene is revealing to say the least. God Almighty is standing among men in the person of Jesus, the same God that called all the stars in heaven into being, with a word. Peter takes God by the lapels, so to speak, and pulls him aside and rebukes him, as if a man can correct God. Is that not the way we as sinful men behave much of the time? We take matters into our own hands with no thought of God, until we become a Christian, and even then it is a battle to keep God in mind all the time.
The truth of the matter is that God is sovereign over all things, all the time; He is in charge when Jesus was put to death by Roman soldiers, and He is in charge when we take matters into our own hands and depart from His perfect will into sin. God has allowed the intrusion of sin into His perfect universe for a season, in order to accomplish His great plan of redemption, to reveal holiness, truth, and His love. But even though God is always sovereign, which means nothing happens that He did not permit in order to fulfill His divine and often hidden purposes, He also allows men to depart from His perfect will and in so doing men are given limited control.
It look like we are in charge of things presently, we rule and order our own lives, some men rule nations, others a business, and others their families, and so the world goes. But on one occasion when Peter rebuked the Lord, Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms a third party who goes unseen but who is more in charge than even sinful man. This ruler makes it seem to man that all his thoughts, actions, and decisions are his own, but not so. Jesus made this ruler known when He reacted to Peter’s rebuke in the following way.
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." (Mark 8:33)
Peter literally grabbed Jesus and pulled Him aside, which meant he felt close enough to Him to do such a thing, but also rebellious and proud enough to forget his proper place. They walk away from the others but after Jesus was rebuked by Peter He turned away from Him and toward His disciples, which begs the question, who was Jesus talking to. He turned away from Peter and toward His disciples but He addressed Satan. The picture is sublime and it must have stuck in the minds of the disciples because they continually make reference to Satan all through the general epistles, which is also true in the rest of the New Testament. Peter was the one that contradicted Jesus and failed to take Him at His word, but Jesus rebuked Satan. Satan was the master and Peter was the servant.
After Jesus made it known that there was an unseen ruler in town, He turned to the crowd and His disciples and said,
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
Jesus called the people on that day, as He did every other day, to follow Him with total surrender to His will. To follow Jesus without reservation means we experience the true meaning of life, and share in the very life of Christ as the Holy Spirit infuses His life into our very souls. To follow Jesus is to be delivered from the power of Satan who otherwise has the intelligence and the deceitfulness to influence us for evil. To follow Jesus is to recognize the one who truly is in charge, not temporally or in any limited way, but completely and perfectly. Jesus is the creator God, the savior of all those who believe, and most importantly Lord. Only Jesus has the power over death, Satan, and sin. We do well to follow Him.
“if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”