How’s your week going so far? May this message – Part 5 of our series based on Pastor Jim Cymbala’s message, "A Full Portrait of Christ" – be a blessing to you…
Now in the same passage of Scripture, we see another side of the Lord. After having spoken about the person who was about to betray him, Jesus turned to the Apostle Peter and said, ”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31, 32) Peter replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." (Luke 22:33) In other words, he was saying, "Look, these other guys might fail you, but I’ll never fail you!" Jesus swiftly answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me." (Luke 22:34)
Here is yet another snapshot: Jesus being patient and compassionate with the people who do trust and love him, but are weak and imperfect. Believers are often immature and make boasts, as did Peter, about how much they love the Lord and what they are willing to do for him. Unfortunately, we don’t realize how frail we really are and we end up making mistakes. Instead of throwing us away, however, Jesus treats us in the same way he treated Peter when he said to him, "Peter, though you mess up, I’m praying for you." Isn’t that a wonderful thought? I love it when someone tells me that they are praying for me, but the greatest thought in life is to know that Jesus is making intercession for us.
The Bible says that even though we are not faithful, "he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (2 Timothy 2: 13) He didn’t tell Peter, "Do you really think you’re so strong? Well I have news for you: You’ll end up denying you know me! Therefore, I don’t want to have anything to do with you!" No, instead he said, "Peter, you’re headed for a fall,
but I’ve already seen it before it happens. I’m going to restore you and make you strong so that you can help others who are weak. In fact, you’re going to be one of my best preachers one day!" Isn’t that a beautiful picture of Jesus? The only reason why we have a church here in New York City is because Jesus is full of mercy and compassion. Otherwise, none of us would be here, for none of us really deserves to be here.
To obtain an audio tape of the full message that is excerpted in this issue or to get an archival listing of Pastor Cymbala’s sermon tapes, please call The Brooklyn Tabernacle at 718-290-2238. (This is not an advertisement.)