“For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
In my last leaflet article, I questioned why Jesus’ followers were completely caught off guard by his crucifixion and death. Didn’t Jesus plainly tell his disciples on multiple occasions that he would suffer many things, be killed and then rise again after three days?
Yes. Jesus did clearly and very specifically communicate to his followers multiple times that he would be rejected by the elders and chief priests, be delivered over to the Gentiles, be shamefully treated, ultimately killed and on the third day rise (Luke 9:21-22; 9:44-45; 18:32-33).
Also, Peter’s passionate response to Jesus when Jesus first told his disciples that he would suffer and die, revealed that they did understand what Jesus was saying. Peter says to Jesus in Matthew 16:22, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall NEVER happen to you.” Peter understood that Jesus was saying he was going to suffer and die, but Peter simply did not want that!
So, why does the Bible say that Jesus’ disciples did not understand “this saying” and that they were afraid to ask him about it (Mark 9:32)? Or why does Luke write in Luke 19:34 that “this saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said”?
What I believe was happening was that although they heard what Jesus was saying, they could not accept it because it was not what they wanted.
In Matthew 16:23, Jesus responds to Peter by saying, “Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Peter and the rest of Jesus’ followers all wanted Jesus to restore the kingdom of Israel. They had come to believe that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and they longed for him to establish the throne of David and eternally rule over his kingdom with justice, righteousness and peace. Unfortunately, this was not God’s immediate will. It was his ultimate will but it was not his immediate will.
Their will and desires hid Jesus’ will and desires from them. They did not grasp what Jesus was saying because they did not want what he was saying. They were not setting their minds on the things of God, but rather they were setting their thoughts and desires on the things of man.
I believe that the core hindrance to clearly hearing Jesus’ will for your life is your own will. What you want deafens you from plainly hearing what God wants of you. What must happen in your life and mine is that our wills must die before we can clearly hear His will. For Jesus’ followers, Jesus had to literally die before they could finally hear his reality altering words of death unto resurrection.
Is there something you want so much for yourself or your child that it’s blocking your ability to clearly hear the Lord? Is there someone you long for so deeply that it’s blurring your vision of God’s perfect will for you? If so, then I pray He will sustain you as he gently allows your will to die so that you may discover his good, pleasing and perfect will for you. Amen.