Peter Gets It Wrong!
Dear God, charge my whole being with currents of gratitude. May I find many opportunities to bless Your name today.
Consider: "The Christian lifestyle is counter-cultural. Cling on to your life and you'll lose it: give everything you've got to following Jesus, including life itself, and you'll win it" (N. T. Wright). Are you willing to be one of those who embrace this truth?
We are most vulnerable to counter-attacks from the enemy at the hour of our greatest spiritual triumphs. Peter had just come up with an earth-shaking declaration, which Jesus acknowledged was given to him directly from above, but he did not have any time to bask in his accolade. In his misguided zeal to defend the Messiah, he began to contradict God's purposes for him and earned the sharpest of rebukes! What could Jesus possibly mean when he said, "Get behind me, Satan!" (23)? Peter had not suddenly changed to the devil of hell, but Jesus saw through him to the arch-enemy who was at that moment influencing the thoughts and words of the over-zealous disciple. If this could happen to Peter, it is important that we take heed of Paul's warning, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (1 Cor. 10:12)!
Jesus never once presented to his disciples a rosy picture of their vocation. On the contrary, the cost was as high as could be. What he required of them was nothing short of their very lives. This is not an extraordinary requirement for special saints. Thousands of ordinary men and women, young and old, are paying the ultimate price for following Jesus Christ in this day and age. The demand on most of us is much less stringent. The question remains, all the same, as to our readiness to be faithful to the end. While it is true that only God, using the blood of Jesus, is able to buy our redemption, the ancient Chinese saying at least points in the right direction: "A person who is ready to give everything for his soul except his last coin is a fool, for it is with the last coin that it is bought."
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded" (Luke 12:48). What do these words mean to you personally?
Lord, I am astonished to realize again how much depends on whose voice I listen to. The world's voice leads me to indulge myself. Your voice calls me to deny myself. Lord, help me.
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