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A Powerful Pull

Control freaks are people who feel an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any given situation. To those of you who possess this natural inclination, it’s a powerful pull. According to the Gospel of Matthew and Mark, Peter and his brother Andrew were the first two disciples chosen by Jesus. If this is true, why would Jesus pick a control freak to become the Rock of the first century church? – Matthew 16:18

Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! 23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men, Matthew 16:22-23.

The passage above and below reveals the character arc of Peter. After being praised by Jesus a few verses earlier, Peter refuses to accept the will of God. This flawed mindset is exposed as being a hindrance to God. Without saying the words, Jesus rebukes Peter for being a control freak. If this powerful pull is not addressed immediately, Peter will become a stumbling block to God instead of a rock of faith.

Then Peter began to speak and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good and delightful that we are here; if You approve, I will put up three booths here—one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud [composed of light] overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and have always been] delighted. Listen to Him! – Matthew 17:4-5

Unfortunately, Peter was resistant to change. Being part of Jesus’ inner circle only fueled Peter’s ego. Peter wasn’t afraid to verbalize what others were thinking, asking if Jesus wanted shrines built for the special moment above. Peter believed that Jesus would rise to power as King of the Jews. As a control freak, Peter was drawn to this first century rock star who had an alternate plan. Thus, Peter was unable to let go of this controlling pull.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 Therefore, Jesus said to Peter, Put the sword [back] into the sheath! The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it? 12 So the troops and their captain and the guards (attendants) of the Jews seized Jesus and bound Him, John 18:10-12.

The final passage above confirms that Peter was unable to let go of his desire to be in control. Willing to defend Jesus so that he could be an earthly king, you can see the disappointment in Peter’s eyes after told by Jesus to stand down. Perhaps, Peter’s public denial of Jesus hours later is due in some part of his unwillingness to accept God’s will. The powerful pull of control freaks still exists today, Galatians 5:16-18. Unless you yield to God’s Spirit, this internal tug of war will continue to grow into a powerful pull.

by Jay Mankus

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