Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Words That Don't Go Together

Here's a terrific contradiction for you: "Never, Lord!"

In Matthew, chapter 16, we read of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. He asked them, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" referring to himself. The disciples gave several answers -- John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. But Jesus wanted to know what the disciples themselves thought of him. "What about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (verses 15, 16).

He got it! He had come to know that Jesus was the Son of God and because he confessed Jesus' lordship he was blessed.

Yet Peter had more to learn. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" (Matthew 16:21-22)

"Never" and "Lord" can't go together in the same sentence. If Jesus is indeed Lord, we do not have the freedom to tell him how to do things. As much as Peter loved Jesus and wanted to follow -- and protect -- him, Jesus told him, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (verse 23).

As believers in Christ, we are called to follow him, even if he doesn't do things the way we think he should. He is trustworthy and knows how to manage, even without our help.

How reasonable it is to trust ourselves to the keeping of infinite love, and infinite wisdom, and infinite power! (Thomas Erskine, 1788-1870)

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