Sunday, April 9, 2017

In the Crucible

Among the stories recorded in the last hours leading to the arrest and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ is His disclosure of Satan's attempt to defeat Peter and the other disciples. Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV) says, 
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for [all of] you, that he may sift you as wheat.32 But I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Despite Peter's self-confidence (v.33), Jesus told him candidly,  "The rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me” (v.34). Just like what the Master said, Peter failed the test miserably (Luke 22;54-62).

The LORD restored Peter eventually, after the resurrection. Among other things, he has learned many lessons through this experience. The tone of his letters to the believers in diaspora reflect a solemn understanding of the tests and trials that followers of Jesus might go through. Peter brings encouragement as one who has gone through them as a fellow pilgrim. Take for example what he said in 1 Peter:
1:6-9 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
4:1-2, 12-13, 19 - 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

"Tests and trials make us realize our humanity that is in constant need of God's mercy and protection."

Tests and trials have a way of exposing our true character. These also make us realize our humanity that is in constant need of God's mercy and protection. Going through them enables us to empathize with those who suffer. Thankfully, even for Peter, his failure wasn't final because Jesus looked forward to a time when Peter would "have returned to Me"  in order to "strengthen your brethren.” 

Hallelujah! Redemption is what Jesus brings -- for our souls, from ourselves and our failures.

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