Jesus, however, turning around and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter. “Out of my sight, Satan!” he exclaimed. “For you look at things, not as God does, but as people do.”
how gentle can a rebuke be
our competitive culture
resists restful relationships
anger flares where listening stops
blame erupts right righteously
claiming ultimate ground
once in awhile we can retranslate
a banishment to the end of the queue
into a climbing back on the wagon
come gather again
as we practice inviting
larger circles to hold steadfast
When called, Peter turned toward Jesus. With his calling Jesus away from what was identified as an expected first outcome of challenging power, Peter is told to go back where he came from.
This isn’t told directly. Jesus doesn’t address Peter face to face, rebuke to rebuke, scold to scold. Jesus has already turned around physically and finds the Satan not only with Peter, but with the disciples he is now looking at (and the reader who is looking in). There is wilderness all around.
Aichele105 helps us put this powerful language into a larger context: “It is a situation of open conflict between Peter’s messiah language and Jesus’ son of man language.” Now we can hold verses 8:29 and 8:31 together and explore their relationship.
This brings to a head tensions that have been brewing between expectations of carrying on the baggage of the past with a new understanding of what is good—as in good news. Peter’s Messiah does not carry Isaiah’s Suffering Servant within and through their being. Jesus’ son-of-man is all too weak (it is helpful here to read John Caputo’s, The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional).
All language is metaphoric, multivalent. LaVerdiere-231, notes that being behind or following after someone is not a matter of banishment but a call to revival. He mentions Baptizer John announcing someone coming after him and the call of the disciples to follow behind Jesus. We are also set up to hear this in the next verse spoken to the crowd who would come after him (including the reader).
Try this translation from Swanson291, “But Jesus, after he turned and saw his disciples, scolded Peter”. Would Jesus have been silent about this if there weren’t an audience?