Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Do We Really Believe What Jesus Said?

When Peter told Jesus he was willing to die for him, Jesus told him he would deny him three times before the roster crows. However, Peter was emphatic that Jesus must of been wrong, because he thought he knew himself better than Jesus did.

Sadly, Peter came to a painful reality about himself and about Jesus. He did the very things Jesus said he would do. Peter discovered that in his own weakness and failure he was unable to live up to even his own ideals. And he also discovered that even though Jesus knew all about this, still loved him and called him to service. Peter came to understand that he needed Jesus much more than Jesus needed him, and that Jesus' call on his life was an act of mercy, not employment. Peter's ability was never the main issue in serving Christ, but simple submission and gratitude.

Today, we are sometimes as emphatic as Peter was. Although Jesus said he would allow the wheat and weeds to grow up together, we insist that we can make our churches "effective." We just need a "revival." Although Jesus said that in the last days, brother will betray brother, and the love of some will grow cold, we insist we can make our churches havens from fighting and division, and no one will fall away from the faith. Even though Jesus made it clear that our true home is in heaven, we build our lives here like this is our home forever. Jesus said that His kingdom is from another place, built not by human hands. But many insist that we must work to make the world a better place, instead of work to spread the Gospel of God's salvation. If we do not outright say these things, what we really believe is revealed by what we focus on and what we fear.

Therefore, in order to deal with bad news from Jesus appropriately, we must first accept Jesus at His word. When we accept Him at His word, we begin to accept reality. As a result we will be able to accept our own human failings, and learn to lean on the grace of God found in Christ -- which is what is trully holding any of us up. And don't follow the way of Judas, who took matters into his own hands. He tried to atone for his own sin, and he was condemned.

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