Matthew 16:23 Interpretation


According to Matthew 16:23, Jesus Christ called Peter “Satan” and referred to him as an “offence.” How to interpret this is my question, especially since He just handed the authority of the Church to Peter?


We can all play the hands of God or the hands of satan at one time or another in our lives. Not all popes have been angels, for example. But God knows our hearts, and our need for chastisement, repentance, and renewal continously, and Jesus certainly knew Peter’s heart-and how things would proceed from there.


You have to notice that all this happened BEFORE Jesus resurrection and the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit.

Therefore Peter at that particular time although understood that Jesus WAS the Son of GOD and THE Messiah, did not understand Jesus mission on earth. He still thought like all jews that the messiah would remain here on earth and become their king.

Fast forward to the moment just prior to Jesus ascension to Heaven and listen Him speaking to Peter:

He asks Peter… “Peter, do you love me?” Peter responds that indeed he loves him. Jesus replies, “feed my sheep”

3 times HE did this. Jesus entrusted HIS sheep to Peter.

Hope this helps you,


I did help me actually, thank you. Very informative. :thumbsup:


D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 23. Go after me, Satan.[4] The words may signify, begone from me; but out of respect due to the expositions of the ancient fathers, who would have these words to signify come after me, or follow me, I have put, with the Rheims translation, go after me. Satan is the same as an adversary: (Witham) and is here applied to Peter, because he opposed, out of mistaken zeal, Christ’s passion, without which the great work of man’s redemption could not be effected. Peter, however, unknowingly or innocently, raised an opposition against the will of God, against the glory of Jesus, against the redemption of mankind, and against the destruction of the devil’s kingdom. He did not understand that there was nothing more glorious than to make of one’s life a sacrifice to God. (Bible de Vence) — Thou dost not, i.e. thy judgment in this particular is not conformable with that of God. Hence our separated brethren conclude that Christ did not, in calling him the rock in the preceding verses, appoint him the solid and permanent foundation of his Church. This conclusion, however, is not true, because, as St. Augustine and theologians affirm, Peter could fall into error in points regarding morals and facts, though not in defining or deciding on points of faith. Moreover, St. Peter was not, as St. Jerome says, appointed the pillar of the Church till after Christ’s resurrection. (Tirinus) — And it was not till the night before Christ suffered that he said to Peter: Behold, Satan hath desired to have thee; but I have prayed for thee, that “thy faith fail not,” and thou being once converted confirm thy brethren. (Luke xxii. 31.) (Haydock)


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