The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/28

Posted on | October 28, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/28

Scripture reading: John 2:1–5

Never Say Never

In him [Jesus Christ] it is has always been, “Yes.” (II Corinthians 1:19)

 

Simon Peter had a precocious aptitude for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. On numerous occasions in the Gospels we see him speaking up in ways that were out of line and out of place. Little wonder that some have dubbed him “The Apostle of the Foot-Shaped Mouth.” Nowhere is this “gift” of inane verbosity more apparent than on those four occasions when he said to his Master, “Never, Lord.” It would be hard to find a better example of an oxymoron than this. To say “Lord” means to say boss and king. It connotes total allegiance and immediate obedience. So to say “No, Lord” is to put two words together that should never be associated! Let’s look at those times when Peter spoke the unspeakable.

,. The “never” of spiritual ignorance. When Jesus began to explain for the first time to his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to die on a cross, Peter responded by saying Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you! (Matthew 16:22 NIV). Peter’s understanding of Scripture led him to believe that the Messiah would sit on a throne of power and glory so that his subjects could be healthy, wealthy and happy. Messiahs don’t do crosses! Never, Lord! He rejected the Master’s words because they didn’t fit in with his theology.

,. The “never” of self-confidence. During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that they would all fall away, abandoning and deserting him in his hour of greatest need. The apostle of the foot-shaped mouth could not remain silent. Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away (Matthew 26:33). You can count on me, Lord. I’m the rock, you know. These other wimpy disciples may fail you, but not me! Such bravado was a pitiful effort to overcompensate for the inner weakling that Peter really was. Only a few hours later, he denied three times that he even knew Jesus.

,. The “never” of pride. In the Upper Room, as Jesus took the role of a servant and washed the feet of his disciples, he came to Peter. Unfortunately, Peter opened his mouth yet again: You shall never wash my feet (John 13:8). Peter had been too proud and self-absorbed to ever think of washing the feet of the others in the room that night. And now the King of Israel was there at his feet with a basin and towel, humbly doing the task of a servant. “Never, Lord!” Once again, Peter tried to pull rank and control his Lord by forcing him to behave in a more acceptable manner. Though Peter’s “never” sounded almost pious and even humble, in reality it was just another example of his arrogance and ego-centrism.

,. The “never” of spiritual one-upmanship. Peter’s foot-in-mouth disease was so pernicious we find a final example of it in the book of Acts. Long after Easter and Pentecost, while Peter was staying at the house of Simon the Tanner in Joppa, he went up on the rooftop to pray. In a vision, he saw a great sheet descending from heaven filled birds, reptiles and animals. A voice from heaven said, Get up, Peter. Kill and eat. Peter replied, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean” (Acts 10:13–14. NIV). To eat food that wasn’t kosher was beneath Peter’s dignity, even if the Lord himself had commanded him to do so! The point of the vision, of course, was to prepare Peter to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and welcome them into God’s family as brothers and sisters. “But Lord, they’re unclean! I’m above such actions. I’m superior to such people. Never, Lord!”

Learn from the apostle of the foot-shaped mouth to never say never!

If Jesus is not your Lord, he is not your teacher. He teaches those who obey him,

and only those who obey him.   —E. Stanley Jones

 

point to ponder Is there some area in your life today where you are saying “No, Lord!”?

prayer focus That we, the Body of Christ, will take up the basin and the towel.

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