As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples a question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13 NLT).
Different individuals came up with different answers. But then Peter, under the inspiration of God Himself said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (verse 16 NLT).
Jesus commended Peter for his answer, and everything was going wonderfully.
But then Matthew tells us, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (verse 21 NLT).
Peter, probably thinking he was on a roll at that point, privately took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him for making such statements.
But Jesus replied, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (verse 23 NLT).
Why so harsh? Jesus was speaking to the spirit that motivated Peter to say what he did. It was the devil who was saying to Jesus, “Don’t go to the cross. Think about Yourself. What about You?”
Yet nothing would deter Jesus from His course. That is why Jesus responded to Peter so strongly. In fact, Luke’s Gospel tells us that “as the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (9:51 NLT).
Jesus Christ came to this earth to buy back that which was forfeited in the Garden of Eden.
The cross wasn’t a mistake. Jesus knew it was coming and spoke of it often. He had to go to the cross because there was no other way to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful humanity. The cross was Jesus’ goal and destination from the beginning.