Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shhh...Jesus is Praying!


Shhh...Jesus is Praying!

 

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” – Luke 22:31
I’ve had sort of a “poor, poor, pitiful me” kind of morning.  Being sick again for the 5th time in eight weeks, I’m just really tired of being sick and tired.  I began to ask God, “What’s your purpose in this? What do you stand to gain?  Where is your glory to be found in this?”  I know nothing - not ONE thing - happens without His sending it or allowing it.  He is almighty God, able to stop anything He chooses from entering my life.  As I sat wondering what the purpose of this was, He sent a television commercial to remind me of what Jesus had said to Peter. 

Peter was strong in his faith, perhaps stronger than any of the other twelve disciples.  It was Peter that in Matthew 16:15-20 Jesus asked “But who do you say that I am?”  Jesus could have asked anyone, but knowing the heart of Peter, He wanted to hear him confess it.  Peter answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” At that time Jesus renamed Peter, gave him a new identity.  He said “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus renaming Peter is important to note.  The name Bar-Jonah means shifting sand, which is unsteady, changing ground.  But the name Peter means rock, a stone, unmovable.  Jesus saw the strength of Peter’s faith, and his new identity as Peter was evidence of what Jesus saw in his heart, an unshakeable faith.  It was this strong faith upon which Jesus would build His church.  He said that hell would not prevail against it, it would hold the keys to heaven, and have the power to bind on earth and cause the same to be bound in heaven. 

At this point, Peter gained a reputation in hell as one to be challenged.  While Satan will take down those that are weak in their faith on a daily basis, he desires those that are God’s trophy children.  He desires to mount us on his wall as a poacher would a 20-point buck!  Jesus knew that as well.  The business of hell is still God’s business.  He made heaven and hell.  Nothing goes on there that does not get God’s attention.
Time had passed, and it was the night of Jesus’ betrayal, hours before it would occur.  Jesus has just finished Passover with His disciples.  He had washed their feet.  Peter realizing that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, refused to allow Him to wash his feet because he felt it was beneath Jesus to serve him.  But then when Jesus explained that “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me”, Peter quickly answered, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”(John 13:8-9).  Peter desired nothing more than to be where Jesus was, to be a part of all He was doing.

Then Jesus warned His disciples of His upcoming death, and a time when He would no longer be with them on earth.  Peter couldn’t stand the thought of being without Christ!  Jesus saw this in Peter’s heart as well, and tells Peter in Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Satan would have liked nothing more than to sift Peter, the shake him in his sifter, and shake him until he fell apart.  Satan wanted to see Peter, the rock, broken, and returned to shifting sand!  But Jesus prayed for him.  Jesus prayed to God - not for Peter to be spared the sifting process - but for his faith not to fail.  He prayed that Peter’s faith would be strong, and that he would go through the trials Satan had in store for him successfully. 

God would gain no glory in our lives if they were continually easy, with no bumps in the road or fires to walk through.  How much faith would it take to live a life of continual bliss?  But when we are tested, when we have troubles, trials, and sickness, then our faith is sifted.  Then God stands to glory from our faith in Him. 
Count it all joy when your faith is tested. When you are tested your faith grows and produces patience.  And patience, when it is completed, will find you perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

So Satan, hear this.  My faith may not be much bigger than a mustard seed, but it’s not going through your sifter! I’ll clog it up and cause you nothing but wasted energy! Don’t mess with God’s child, because this one is a rock! So what if I have an upset stomach or a cough or runny nose.  Jesus is praying for me (Romans 8:34), and well loser, you should know by now how that will turn out!

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