Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wounds from a Friend

"Wounds from a sincere friend are better
than many kisses from an enemy." Provers 27:6

Have you heard the story of a man named Peter and his friend, Jesus?  It goes a little something like this: (feel free to follow along in Matthew 26:34-75, Mark 14:29-72, Luke 22:31-62, & John 18:10-27)

Peter and Jesus were very close friends.  Peter hung on every word Jesus spoke, and long to see the coming of the events spoken about.  Then one day as Jesus was explaining that the time has come for  His life to be given for the forgiveness of sins, Peter proclaimed that he wouldn't stand for it!  He would fight for his Lord!

Jesus was upfront with Peter, he told him that Satan had asked to be able to 'sift' Peter, but Jesus assured His friend that He was praying for him.  Jesus then told Peter that before the rooster crows, Peter would deny his friend Jesus 3 times.  Peter obviously thought Jesus was wrong and began disagreeing...but time would tell...

As Jesus and some of his closest friends (Peter included) were in the garden praying (and sleeping), the time came.  Guards showed up to arrest Jesus.  Peter emerged with a sword and cut the ear off one of the soldiers.  (I'm sure he was thinking, look what I did for you, Lord, now RUN!)  Rather than thanking Peter for his heroic act, Jesus inflicted a wound.  Jesus rebuked Peter and told him not to live by the sword, that was not the manner that Jesus was going to be taken into custody.  Jesus had already told his friends about what was going to happen this night.  The time had come.  At this, all Jesus' friends ran away.

Through the course of the night, Peter was recognized as a Jesus follower as he crept around to see what was happening.  And, just as Jesus said, Peter denied Him...3 times, then the rooster crowed and Peter recalled what his Lord said.
As I told my children this story last night, the Lord spoke to my heart.  How many times has He sent a sincere friend of mine to speak words to me that may be difficult to hear, but are needed for my edification, growth or protection; but instead of hearing them as what they are intended I hear a put down, insult or discouragement?  Jesus had told His disciples what to expect, He even told Peter it had to happen.  Peter took it upon himself to be the mighty protector, when Jesus is GOD!  Peter lost sight of that, just as we all do from time to time. 

Let's face it, Peter got his feelings hurt and ran away to sulk, feel sorry for himself and have his own little pity party.  Yet he was drawn to see what was happening to his Lord, so he followed.  Then as he was recognized, he denied the very One he desired to save!  Then the rooster crowed.  What a wake-up call that must have been!  The reality of it being too much, Peter ran away again, weeping bitterly...realizing the mistakes he had made when he had been warned by a sincere friend.

Peter then had a choice to make...continue wollowing in his pity or pick up and begin following and serving his Lord again.  I suspect at first he went back to his old life in the boat, until that glorious third day!  When Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary (mother of James) and several other women ran to tell the apostles what had happened at the tomb when they visited, most of the men didn't believe it, it sounded like nonsense...."However, Peter jumped up an ran to the tomb to look" Luke 24:12 (emphasis mine).

Peter got such a boost!!  What Jesus said would happen DID!  Read more about Peter through the New Testament, he was never the same!

But the question isn't about Peter anymore, it is about you and me.  When have we gotten our feelings hurt and fled?  When have we allowed Satan to take a wound from a sincere friend and twist it and turn it to make it into something it isn't?  When are we going to hear the rooster crow?  When are we going to hear that our Lord has risen and be the only one who will run to see the empty tomb...and NEVER be the same again?  When?

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