Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, September 9, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Satan Speaks Through Peter
by David Harwood

Let’s reset the stage.

Our Messiah became incarnate in a war zone. Our adversary sought to prevent Him from accomplishing His destiny all His life. Demonically inspired, Herod tried to kill him, but failed. (Matthew 2:13-18) His enraged former neighbors in Nazareth, as if possessed, tried to throw Him off a cliff, but failed. (Luke 4:29) Having failed to murder Him, Satan sought to derail Him. Along those lines we briefly considered Yeshua’s wilderness temptation. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)

In Luke 4:13 it’s written

And when the devil had completed every test, he departed from Him until another occasion. (Luke 4:13) 

“Until another occasion…” 

We’re about to examine such an occasion. Let’s look at the snare Yeshua faced in Caesarea Philippi. It was there that the Messiah was assailed with the same demonic lure He rejected in the wilderness. This time, the serpent spoke through Peter.

Let’s trace this.

First we find the stunning exposure of the disciples dim spiritual perceptions. They had just participated in, and witnessed, the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves. That had to affect them, don’t you think? Well, Yeshua took that recent experience to stretch their understandings and warn them of the hametz (leaven) of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Messiah told them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) They didn’t get it. Instead, the following happened:

And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “We didn’t bring any bread.” 

In the light of this, Yeshua upbraided them.

But knowing this, Yeshua said, “O you of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? 

You still don’t get it? 

Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered? Or how about the seven loaves for the four thousand and all the baskets of leftovers you gathered? 

How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? Now beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” 

After being reproved they began to get it. Their immediate lack of faith, and impoverished understanding, was overcome by their Teacher.

Then they understood that He wasn’t talking about the hametz in the bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 

Directly after this came a huge test of faith and insight. Yeshua asked them, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” I don’t know that the Messiah was interested in the people’s opinion. I believe His Emissaries’ faith was being tested and their understanding assessed.

Now, you tell me, how could they possibly get this right? They didn’t even understand about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Here’s the record of the test and the test’s result.

When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Immerser, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He said, “But who do you say I am?” 

Yeshua asked them, “But who do you say I am? This question evidently touched a nerve, and Peter reflexively blurted out one of the most significant statements ever made.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 

Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven! (Matthew 16:7–17) 

Yeshua publicly commended Peter, blessed him, conferred authority upon him, and prophesied that upon the basis of that revelation’s confession He would build His community. I believe the Lord was, at that moment, very encouraged.

Why? We’ll pick this up next week.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 9 Sep 2023 23rd of Elul, 5783 Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech
Leil Selichot
De 31:20-30 Isa 61:10-63:9 Lk 4:14-21