That Which We Stumble Over
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.’ But He turned and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offense unto Me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God but those that be of men.'” – Matthew 16:21-23
As you look at the religions and cults of the world, you see that they say the same thing as Peter: “Be it far from Thee.” But this was the very reason that Christ came into the world. His death on the cross was the plan of God for the redemption of mankind. If Christ had not died on the cross, no one could have been saved.
Christ knew the importance of His death on the cross and showed it to Peter by the rebuke that He gave him: “Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou are an offense to me.” Satan has always tried to stop the Lord Jesus Christ from reaching the cross. He tried at various times to kill Him before He could reach that appointed time to go to the cross. Peter was here agreeing with Satan and his plan to keep Christ from the cross, and that is the reason he was rebuked. For the believers, they realize that it was the gift of love that caused God to send His Son to Earth to redeem us by His death on the cross.
But sinful man does all he can to get around the cross. It points out to him that he is a sinner and that, unless he can come to the cross and bow at the feet of Jesus Christ and confess his own sinfulness, then there is no hope for him. He would rather listen to some teaching of mankind that says he is really good, and if he does good deeds, then he will be all right when it comes to salvation. But deep in his heart, he knows that he is not good, and he knows that he faces a holy God when he dies. But he would rather believe the lie than come to the cross, because he has to confess that he is sinful, and that is hard to do.
The cross is there for the salvation of sinners like you and me. Come to the cross and agree with God that you are lost and in need of a Savior. Then God, in His love for you, will reach down and save your soul and give to you eternal life. Salvation is not man holding himself up to God but God reaching down to man.