Bible Question:

Is there evidence to support that Jesus really thought Satan entered Peter by his statement in Matthew 16:23 or was it sarcasm?

Bible Answer:

The verse about Peter that you referred to is included in the following passage:

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (NASB) Matthew 16:21-23

The passage does not specifically state that Peter was demon possessed. Therefore, we cannot conclude that Peter was demon possessed. However, it is clear that Satan had influenced Peter’s thinking and our Lord knew it. Other scriptures also reveal that Satan can influence our thinking and our actions even though he cannot possess a Christian.

Can Motivate Us To Lie

Acts 5:1-3 reveals that Satan can influence us to lie.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? (NASB) Acts 5:1-3

In this passage, Peter makes it clear Ananias’ heart was “filled.” How did Satan do this? We do not know the answer. But it is clear that Satan can influence our thinking in some way. But 1 John 4:4 indicates that he cannot possess a Christian, since the Holy Spirit lives within each true Christian.

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (NASB) 1 John 4:4

Can Motivate Us To Anger

Satan can also influence us to be angry.That is the message of the following passage.

BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (NASB) Eph. 4:26-27

Can Motivate Us To Sexual Sin

1 Corinthians 7:5 also indicates that Satan can motivate us to commit sexual sin, and he has been incredibly successful in this area.

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (NASB) 1 Cor. 7:5


There are several other passages that reveal other ways in which Satan can influence us. Here are some passages to explore: Gen. 3:1-4; Job 1-2; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 11:13-14; 2 Cor. 12:7; and 1 Tim. 3:6. Luke 22:31 indicates that Satan does not have complete freedom with us and on some occasions must ask permission to get at us. How does a Christian wage war with Satan? James 4:7 tells us to resist him. If we will, he will flee from us. Now that is great news. But how do we resist him? The answer is found in Eph. 6:10-19. The passage describes the Armor of God. For an explanation of the Armor of God visit a previous question, “Is there something that I can do to be a man who is aggressive and on fire for God?” May the Lord bless you.

Suggested Links:

Can Christians be demon possessed?
Are evil spirits present with us here on earth?
Is there something that I can do to be a man who is aggressive and on fire for God?