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“The Things That Be of Men”


Mark 8:31-38

31” And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

When Peter rebuked Him, He turned and looked at the other disciples. Why? He was discerning if they had felt the lie of satan also, as Peter did. He knew this was a deception that would last for the duration of time. It was bigger than that moment.

He said, “thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men”. Peter liked the way things were going. He loved Jesus and loved being with Him. He couldn’t stand to see Him hurt, and couldn’t bear the thought of losing Him.

Isn’t this the big lie of satan in these days also?

The things that be of men…health, good food, money, a loving family, and a peaceful life. Aren’t these the things we all want our lives to be filled with? The “things that be of men”?

But Jesus wasn’t just saying we shouldn’t be preoccupied with these things, He attributed the desire for these things as coming from satan himself.

In fact, in verse 38, He insinuates that it is equivalent to being ashamed of Him.

What is so bad with wanting those things? After all, Jesus said to pray about everything. He certainly desires good things for His children.

He loves us dearly, more than we could understand, and He wants a good life for us, but not at the cost of our putting those things in the way of desiring HIS WILL in our lives, even if these things are not included in it. Our desire should be for Him and His will, not His gifts, be they spiritual or material.

The prosperity gospel preachers put people’s minds in satan’s lap…..putting them on being prosperous, healthy, happy….those “things that be of men” that put OURSELVES on the throne instead of Our Lord, and make us happy to be in this world where we are but short-time visitors, waiting for our true home.

These are the things that let US dictate to GOD what He would give us, instead of humbling ourselves to submit to His Will for ourselves and our families, knowing that He, and He alone, knows what is best for us in the end. The “things that be of God”.. things that we will have for eternity, not the things we would have for this temporary and short time on earth. (see also Mark 10:24).

Submission to His Will is what our goal should always be, no matter what we would like, or need.

When He said to pray about everything, He meant to connect with Him in our spirits and minds, surrendering the situation to Him so we can be guided as to what to do and how to think. Putting on the Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The prosperity gospel would have us decide what God will bless us with and they say God has to do it because He is Good, and He has promised. This is a blatant lie of Satan and what Jesus was talking about to His disciples in these verses.

Peter was telling Jesus what is best, and what God should do, and should not do. Martha and Mary were sure Jesus did the wrong thing by not preventing their brother’s death, and the prosperity teachers would have us make the same mistake.

GOD IS GOD….nothing less…..He never promised prosperity, health, or any other good thing….In fact, He said that we would have tribulation, (John 16:33) but He did promise He would be with us…..and if we seek Him with all our hearts, and submit totally to His will, we will find Him in the situation, as well as our whole life. He will sustain us with what we need, not necessarily what we want.

Yet, in the days when these words were spoken, the prosperity gospel wasn’t yet being preached.

Yes, the First Century version of it was. And Jesus knew just who started it, and who is sustaining it today…none other than satan himself.

At that time, many people followed Jesus because He healed them, gave them bread and fishes, or they believed that He would free them from Roman rule. John 6:26-28 says:

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

They weren’t considering that He would free them from themselves. They didn’t think they needed freeing, much as the prosperity gospel preachers teach today….they never teach repentance. They say we were forgiven once and for all at salvation, and it shows lack of faith to ask again. This is a lie from the pits of hell!!!!

This is why many didn’t follow Jesus when He started teaching about repentance. When He started making “hard words”, they turned back to the “things that be of men”.

The disciples, in these verses, had been spending beautiful days with Jesus, sitting at His feet, and learning of the wonders of God. We all love those times when God the Father and Jesus seem so real to us, and we want to stay in that moment forever. These men, of course, wanted to live their lives following Jesus. So, when He said He would die, all they could see was that He would leave them. In their grief and confusion, they probably didn’t even hear the part about resurrecting in three days. They saw Him teaching, preaching, healing, providing, and saving them from political domination. They didn’t see that as evil, it was their love for Him that made them want these things.

Mary, (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) sat at Jesus’ feet, and hung on His every word. They supported Him financially, and followed Him. Yet, they made the same mistake we all tend to make, wanting the” things that be of men”. They did the same thing that Peter did. They rebuked Jesus for not doing what THEY thought He should do. After all, Lazarus was Jesus’ friend, and they all loved Jesus so much!

But Jesus could see the subtle deception in these thoughts. Satan is good at making a good thing work to his benefit, and so it is with this.

Jesus also did basically the same thing He did in our verses above. He looked at the crowd, and groaned at their unbelief, and their arrogance in thinking they could tell God what to do. (John 11:33)

Martha and Mary, as well as the disciples and ourselves, didn’t see far enough into the future, because we are not capable of doing that. THAT is why we MUST train ourselves to instinctively trust that God knows what He’s doing, and put our effort into submitting to His Perfect Plan, because, in this life, we can’t see it.

Jesus is saying we need to look beyond what seems, not only good, but spiritual, and see God’s plan in it. It will sometimes seem that God is going against Himself, as it must have seemed to these men when Jesus rebuked them for wanting the best for Jesus and the people. How confusing it must have been, because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, to gain the understanding that is available to us today, as Christians.

We, therefore, should be able to go beyond what they could see. We have the Mind of Christ, and quickened spirit that can communicate with the Holy Spirit, so we have no excuse to be focusing on the things of this world, and certainly not dictating to God what we want, expecting He has to do it!

How about you? Are you Savouring the things that be of God, or the things that be of men?

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