“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The faith and patience of Jesus

“There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” (Jn 21:2,3).

Three years with Jesus had passed. Three glorious years. Every hope in God had been filled and rejoiced in by these seven and their brethren. Now it seemed that all over. The revival had defused, their hopes dashed. It wasn’t just the dashed hope of earthly glory, that the Messiah would “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6), but, for these men who had been the first to respond to the riveting preaching and pastoral care of John the Baptist, faith and love had sprung up for a God who had begun again to reconnect Himself with His disobedient people; and that fledgling faith and love had grown by leaps and bounds while under the care of Jesus.

Not by His miraculous life and work did they believe in Jesus as “the Anointed One,” but by His unbending loyalty to truth which they saw inherent in His character, His constant mercy for their slow hearts and for His servant Abraham’s descendents, this nation which seemed so indecisive about His Messiahship; and even His mercy toward the religious leadership which fought to destroy His godly influence over His nation, and even take His life.

He had faithfully pointed them to the God of their fathers, a God they had faintly believed in, painting for them a beautiful and colorful picture through words and actions, convincing them to trust in God who wanted a covenant with their heart; even constantly calling God His Father. Through many infallible proofs He had drawn them to believe in His love for them, and His Fathers’ love. They knew that those whose sins He had forgiven, God had forgiven; but whose sins He could not forgive, after much forebearance and weeping in their behalf and delaying the awful judgment, that God would not forgive, either.

Many times had they heard the core of His message, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).
“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.” (Matt. 10:37-40).

Astonishing events had been their experience with Jesus. Daily they had witnessed His personal life of impeccable godliness. They saw His Godhood; they saw His humanity. They saw His unending love. They had heard His powerful yearning to His Father in prayer; they had often overheard the cries of His frustrated and broken heart. Nothing could unconvince them that Jesus was the Son of God.

From this conviction sprung Peter’s declaration, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16). When he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life,” his fellow disciples had to agree with their inspired spokesman. (Jn. 6:68,69).

Yet, now all that was history, a past they all wanted to bury. They had all denied Him; they had all fled to save themselves. All had proven their disloyalty to the Messiah and were not worthy of the least of His mercies.

So, Peter’s natural conclusion was to abandon the life with Christ; the Lord had probably given up on them, anyway. “I’m going fishing!” he announced, and the six replied, “We’re going with you.” Back to the old life, the mundane, regular life without faith and love, and alone; “having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12). “Let’s make an income; let’s just live this life and forget the last 3 ½ years.”

Why did Jesus not stay with them at this time, daily reteaching them His law during the whole, short 40 days before His final ascension? For the same reason He “left [King Hezekiah], to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31). It was the same excellent working that kept Moses on Sinai for 40 days—to allow Israel to backslide into Egyptian hedonism. Only thus could they see just how weak they really were to obey God, though three times they swore, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” (Ex. 24:7). Without being caught in the act, weak and faulty humans will never be persuaded of their self-sufficiency and realize their true lack of reliance on Jesus.

The disciples needed to see their disloyalty and their unfaithfulness to the relationship covenant they had vowed to Christ before God. And they also needed to see Christ’s acceptance of them juxtaposed against their natural, short-lived fortitude. Now Jesus could renew His bond with them, and they could relearn His grace and regain their original genuine joy in Him.

They had suffered through the crisis of Christ’s rejection and crucifixion. They had been crucified with Him. Tried and baptized in fire with Him, now their faith in Him was reclaimed, and they grew in grace and faith and glory during the next weeks before His departure to the holy place of His Father’s heavenly sanctuary. Heb. 8:1,2.

He had again proven His faith and love in them, and reunited their loyalty and affection with His. They saw more clearly than ever that where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. Rom. 5:20. He had worked all things after the counsel of His own will; He had developed His willful and undisciplined disciples into fatherly, Christlike apostles.

Wise Master Teacher. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6 ).


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