Sunday, March 1, 2015
THE ADVANTAGE LEADS TO ACTION - WHEN JESUS PRAYS FOR YOU!
We know from Scripture that the Lord Jesus, Creator of the world, our Master, Redeemer and friend HAS prayed for His disciples and all future believers (John 17). This is from His High Priestly Prayer where He is recorded, for all time, praying for those of us who follow Him to be protected by the Father IN this world (while we are alive) while not being OF this corrupt and evil world system. The Word of God also tells us, wonder of wonders, that He prays for us even now! (See Hebrews 7:25 "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them"). In other words, we have an Advocate with the Father - at all times.
In case there is any question about the methodology of this, we read in Romans 8:26 that "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words". This is the Spirit of Christ Who lives in us and is our conduit to the Father, and is the prime example why we MUST pray in Jesus' Name.
These two verses above from Luke 22:31-32 are powerfully relevant to the Christian in that many are like Simon (Peter), to whom Jesus is declaring this stunning statement! How many of us, if told by the Lord, that the devil was after us, would brush it off? If Satan is after a Christian/follower of Jesus Christ, we can guarantee it is to destroy us, destroy our relationship with God and destroy our families. But there is something else going on in this short passage, which we need to take a hard look at, in terms of our own lives and journey with Jesus.
After studying the original language of this text and its context, these two verses are stunning for us everyday believers in the 21st century. Looking at it under the following headings, we see:
"....Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat" (verse 31)
THE ADVERSARY: What Satan, the accuser of the brethren, the father of lies and destroyer of souls knows very well is very own character flaws. Simon Peter, Jesus' boldest and closest disciple, was a fearless man of the gospel who was also not afraid to shoot of his mouth first, and think later. When this happened, Jesus had already walked on the water, and Peter had tried - and succeeded - because of his brash spontaneity. Some would describe what Peter used to be (pre-Resurrection) as extreme self-confidence, even pride. The devil knows how to use our pride against us, causing us to fall. Satan should know. It was pride that caused his - Lucifer's- fall from heaven (Isaiah 12-17).
THE ATTEMPT: Secondly, the "sifting" which Satan is demanding about Peter from Satan's creator - Jesus - is the same kind he used against Job. Satan basically told God that Job was only faithful to Him because God blessed Job. Satan was going to take the chaff from Peter here and use it to attempt to destroy Him, while when God uses His 'Refining Fire" on us, He uses it to purify us and bring us closer to Him. So Jesus is warning His disciple here, that he is in real danger. Likewise, when we step out of fellowship with Him, due to our sins of omission, commission, disobedience and pride, we basically put the same bullseye on our backs.