The followers of rabbis always walked behind him. This physical spacing showed others your submission to the ideas and leadership of this mentor in your life. It would be out-of-place for a disciple to walk alongside a rabbi or to step in front of him.
Jesus was a Rabbi (and much more) who had disciples. You are His disciple (at least I assume that is why you are reading this). It would be unbelievable to think of stepping ahead of Jesus.
Yet sometimes I have. You probably have, too.
Jesus sends disciples ahead
After a time of on-the-job training, Jesus sent His first group of disciples on ahead of Him. Later, the next batch of disciples would do the same. He told them to go before Him and prepare others for His Kingdom.
You “go before” the Lord by having spiritual conversations with friends and acquaintances. You open them up to knowing Him better. Sometimes it works; sometimes they reject you. Still you go.
Jesus puts His disciples in their place
After a “going before Him” campaign where the disciples went out and reached hundreds of people, they came back and followed Him again until He dispatched them again. Peter’s understanding was growing and he had just shared his revelation of who Jesus is. Shortly afterward, Jesus started talking about His soon-coming death.
Peter started telling Jesus not to talk like this. My imagination hears Peter saying, “Jesus, you can’t talk like that. You have to speak life, Man! Where is the positive thinking? Let’s claim good things—not all that rejection and suffering and junk.”
Jesus turned to him and said, “Get behind Me!” Although Peter was physically behind Jesus (He had to turn to speak to him), he had stepped ahead of the Master. Peter may have been useful to the Lord and growing in his spiritual understanding, but his comments were out-of-line.
We often step ahead of the Lord
I’ve made the mistake of stepping ahead of the Lord. I have told Him how He should have done things. I have instructed Him in how my life should go. At times, I have abused prayer and forgot I was the follower and He the Leader.
Typically we oppose the Lord in areas where we need to change, not Him. Peter did not like the message of suffering. Neither does Satan. The devil wants you to live for comfort and satisfaction. If you learn joy through suffering, he is beat at his game.
When Jesus turned to Peter, He said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” The enemy and accuser of our souls has always been known to try to control God. I don’t want to be Satan. I want to be a disciple.
Do you teach and preach? Would you like a series that would help you make disciples? Let me tell you about it here.