[11APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
For 20-days leading up to Easter Sunday, I had the privilege of writing a devotional series for my church. I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks. Each week in this devotional series consisted of a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Brokenness: Week 1 | Day 3
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:15-26
This portion of Scripture typifies, to me, the example of “mountaintop” and “valley” experiences, which occur over the course of the Christian journey. In this first section of this passage, Jesus asks his disciples; “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to confess that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus affirms and celebrates Peter’s proclamation testifying to this moment being a high point in the life of Peter.
How quickly things can change…
Soon after the revelation of Jesus as Messiah, Jesus begins to explain to his disciples about his coming Passion, the journey to Jerusalem that would culminate in his arrest, torture, and crucifixion. The Scriptures reveal that it was this explanation by Jesus that caused Peter to pull Jesus aside and rebuke him for speaking about such things, saying; “Heaven forbid, Lord, this shall never happen to you.”
Jesus immediately responds to Peter with a rebuke of his own, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
The brokenness we experience even as followers of Jesus can be manifest so quickly. In this particular account between Peter and Jesus, we see in one moment, Peter speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit…truth revealed, Jesus says, by God alone. In the next incident, Peter goes from being called (by Jesus) a vessel of God to a minister of Satan. Why? Brokenness can distort our perception and sensibilities. From the mind of man, Peter is doing a noble thing by wanting to prevent Jesus’ going to Jerusalem. Jesus is Messiah; Jesus can share about the Kingdom of God… Jesus can change the world. Clearly, it is better for Jesus to remain alive rather than to be captured and killed. Right?
Our brokenness often distorts what appears to be the right thing with things that may not be what God desires. Often, we do not see the plan of God in circumstances because we think with “our mind” or the mind of man. We should always seek to understand the plan of God and surrender our thinking to the mind of Christ, so we might not be a hindrance to the will and the way of God.
Take some time to reflect on times when you were disturbed by what you thought “God wanted” to do in a circumstance. Could you see a “better” plan that you wanted to implement? Did you implement your plan because it seemed better? (examples might be: financial investments, purchases, career moves, child rearing, other personal relationships, etc.)
Our Prayer: Father, I confess that I do not always understand your plans. Often it seems that I know a better way or a way that might involve less stress for me. It hurts me to think that when I consider your plans difficult that I might be a stumbling block used by Satan. It is hard for me to let go of control in circumstances that I might manipulate for what seems like my good. Help my faith, Lord, so I might trust your plans even when they appear scary to me. I know you have good planned for your people even when the short term outcome might bring challenges for us. Provide for us your strength for the glory of your Kingdom. Amen.