Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, September 23, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Yeshua’s Temptation (continued)
by David Harwood

It is written:

Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Never, Master! This must never happen to You!” 

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:22–23) 

What is almost universally translated as “God forbid!,” or, “Never Master!”, was actually a plea for “Mercy!”

The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament renders it “[may God be] merciful to you”. Young’s Literal Translation renders it, “‘Be kind to thyself, sir; this shall not be to thee.”

I read it as, “Mercy, Lord! This shall never happen to You!”

What we are reading is the record of unadulterated affection and empathy expressed in horror by an aghast apostle. Peter, an intimate friend, could not bear the thought of his beloved Rabbi’s rejection and execution. This love had to tug at the Messiah’s heartstrings. Would Yeshua yield to Peter’s deep, natural, loving concern?

He had already resisted the pull of His family of origin:

While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers were standing outside, trying to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, trying to speak to You.” But to the one telling Him this, Yeshua responded, “Who is My mother? And who are My brothers?” Stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46–50) 

And now? Now, on the heels of the first time anyone had received from Father the revelation of His identity, He’s being tempted again. He was tested by words that expressed love. Don’t forget, Yeshua was tempted in all things, just like we are, only without sin. He was tempted to save His own life. He was tempted to yield to His dear friend’s love.

I reiterate; please meditate: He was tempted.

Recall His response: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me.”

Skandalon, translated stumbling block, does not mean, “This is offensive to Me. I hate this.” No, it is more along these lines:

This is a temptation, a trap, like what I faced in the wilderness. I recognize that lying, murderous spirit coming through Peter’s affections. 

Get behind me, Satan. I will not reject the heartbreak of betrayal, the humiliation, the pain, the rejection. 

I will not turn away from being God’s Suffering Servant.

This is what the Lord said to His adversary in the wilderness when He was tempted to reject His mission and take a shortcut to sovereignty:

Then Yeshua says to him, “Go away, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ ” (Matthew 4:10) 

This, “Go away, satan!”, are practically the identical words used in  Matthew 16. Yeshua, looking at and through Peter said, “Get behind Me.” It seems to mean, “Get out of My sight. Get out of my way.”

The Messiah’s overcoming of these temptations are precursors to His victory at Gethsemane. He overcame by His resolute reliance. We are called to overcome in the same way.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. And the victory that has overcome the world is this—our faith. (1 John 5:4) 

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 23 Sep 2023 8th of Tishrei, 5784 Parashat Ha’Azinu Shabbat Shuva
De 32:40-52 Hos 14:1-9[2-10]; Mic 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27 Heb 12:1-17