Yesterday we saw that Jesus had expectations for a fig tree (and the chief priests) that were not met. How does a LEADER set expectations?
Recall that we said a LEADER OUGHT to be MORE excellent, not less. The highest expectations OUGHT to be on the LEADER.
A BOSS sets LOWER expectations on themselves...they want perks and benefits. Consequently, they set the highest expectations on the "lowest" people.
Jesus followed the LEADER model when it came to setting expectations for others. Jesus is harder on those for which He has high expectations. Jesus is kindest to those for which He has low expectations.
For instance, Jesus was hard on the Pharisees.
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?" (Matthew 23:13-17)
Once again, Jesus gives an effect, then a reason and a value...then examples! This passage begins with Jesus stating that He saw the "greatest" as the one who would make themself a servant...and the one who exalts himself will be abased. This is LEADER vs. BOSS. Then in giving examples Jesus is very hard on the Pharisees...in public!
The Pharisees should have known better. They should have realized they were hypocrites and fools. In fact, Jesus called them names! (In verse 33, Jesus also calls them "generation of vipers".) Jesus was a name-caller. How do we look at people who participate in name-calling?
"And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:36-39)
When people saw how Jesus treated the religious leaders, they really thought He would humiliate the prostitutes. In this passage, a Pharisee has Jesus (and disciples) come over to his house to eat. A sinner touches Jesus. To a BOSS, this lowly person deserves to be publicly humiliated. The BOSS would humiliate this woman in order to feel BETTER about himself. The BOSS would facilitate his own purpose and progress. When Jesus doesn't humiliate the sinner, the Pharisee starts to question whether Jesus is a prophet. Notice, the jump in logic. Jesus' prophetic mantel is question BECAUSE Jesus doesn't have the same perspective as the Pharisee.
Take a moment to look at this example of "HOW to Think". The issue is whether Jesus is a prophet. The proof would be if Jesus knew this woman was a sinner. If the Pharisee thought like God, he would be contrastive and ask Jesus, "Do you know if this woman is a sinner or not?" Instead, the Pharisee thinks like a man and projects his perspective (values) onto Jesus..."if Jesus knew she was a sinner, Jesus wouldn't be nice to her...THEREFORE Jesus is NOT a prophet."...and the whole time, the Pharisee is thinking that he is completely right.
Notice, the Pharisee says this within himself. The next part of the passage has Jesus "answering" him...Jesus is The Prophet. Take a moment to set this scene in your mind...Jesus turns to Simon to have the conversation with the Pharisee...
"And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." (Luke 7:40-43)
Jesus just explained HIS perspective...that OUGHT to be enough to answer the Pharisee's question. However, Jesus has HIGHER expectations for the Pharisee. Again, take a moment to get this picture in your mind. Jesus is now going to look at the woman and talk to Simon...but we all know who Jesus is REALLY talking to...
"And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." (Luke 7:44-50)
Jesus just explained IN PUBLIC that the prostitute was BETTER than the Pharisee!
Now, let's look at the passage that REALLY throws people...
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)
Jesus called Peter "Satan"...there is NO getting around this. Talk about name-calling! Is there anything Jesus could have said that would have potentially been more hurtful? The embodiment of Righteous and Just called one of His disciples the embodiment of Evil!
I have heard people try to explain that Jesus wasn't talking to Peter...He was actually talking to Satan. Was Peter possessed? How exactly do you get that interpretation from this passage? I believe the CAUSE for attempting THAT interpretation is a skewed perspective on LEADERSHIP and profitability. If a person believes Jesus taught that LEADERS OUGHT to be LESS excellent, then THAT interpretation would be consistent. However, we have seen Jesus had HIGHER expectations for people He saw as MORE excellent.
This passage would actually make the case that Jesus saw Peter as His strongest disciple. Peter was strong enough to take the ULTIMATE name-calling incident! Why did Jesus do it?
First of all, the EFFECT of what Peter was REBUKING Jesus about would have been the ULTIMATE in unprofitability. It was the ULTIMATE evil. Second, Jesus’ focus was Peter’s purpose and progress. Jesus said it out of LOVE because he was trying to help Peter. Jesus did NOT gain from this exchange...Peter did.
However, this is the opposite of the way we think today. The “best” people in our society tend to think they shouldn’t have to take ANY criticism. These “leaders” get offended. The CAUSE of this is pride and insecurity.
Look at athletes or entertainers. They get paid millions of dollars for their ability to use their physical gifts to entertain us, yet they get offended or quit if they are criticized. All they are really doing is showing us they aren’t looking Long Term. They are ACTUALLY less excellent...they just APPEAR to be excellent.
Jesus objective for ALL of us is profitability, NOT APPEARANCE. Jesus was TOUGHER on people He saw as GREATER. (John 15 says the profitable branch is cut so it can produce MORE.) Jesus had HIGHER expectations for people who He saw as MORE excellent.