Wednesday, November 25, 2009

11/25/09 Luke 22:31-34 Temptation of Denial

(Betrayal of Peter)
Devotional using the Gospels, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Luke 22:31-34
31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." 33 But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." 34 Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

Calvin abridged: “Satan has desired”- Paul teaches that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual armies (Eph. 6:12). Frequently from not thinking about it, we are overcome not taking seriously that we face fiery darts from our powerful enemy. Satan desires our destruction. He desires to sift us as wheat- here this means to be tossed up and shaken with violence. Matthew adds “strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered”- a reference to Zechariah. The meaning is that though they think they are strong, when their leader is killed, they will realize their weakness. Peter answered not with hypocrisy but with a false confidence in his virtue. Peter promised more for himself than he was able to accomplish because he had not sufficiently examined himself. This also shows how stupid is the intoxication of human presumption because even after the Son of God said otherwise, Peter still has his foolish confidence. We need to all remember our own weakness relying on the Holy Spirit and not agree to more than the Lord promises. In preparing with our contest with temptation we need to avoid fear and we also need to guard against pride which extinguishes a desire to pray. In facing temptation we must remember our weakness and also remember God’s grace so we will call on God. Otherwise we are like drunken soldiers trying to fight and when sobering up begin to run away. The other disciples also join in Peter’s rashness even after Peter had been rebuked. Nothing is more fading or transitory than inconsiderate zeal. The disciples think that nothing is more unreasonable than to forsake their Master, and so they detest such an action; but having no reliance on the promise of God, and neglecting prayer, they boast of things they do not possess.

Thoughts: How discouraging to Christ is must have been to know that his disciples, and especially Peter, would run away from him. Surely this was another part of his suffering on earth—those he had invested himself in, at the crucial point, would turn away. How discouraging it is for God that we, when we have the opportunity to stand up for our faith, pretend we do not know Him at all. Calvin is certainly right to say we need to resist temptation with the promises of God (the Bible) and prayer. In our day, not many teach about resisting temptation- and so we give into the world so easily today. Because there is little difference between the people of God and the world, many refuse to come to the Lord. The church becomes one more thing to do instead of the opportunity to please God. To think that we are better or stronger than we are is one of the worst things we can do in the face of temptation.

Prayer: Lord, keep me from the temptation of denying you today.

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