Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Get Out of God's Way

Matthew 16:16-27
v. 23: “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”

Why was Jesus so angry? He called Peter, Satan! How did Peter respond to Jesus’ stern scolding?

One cold, rainy day, the kids recessed in the play room of their school. When it was time for the fourth grade, Jules climbed the jungle gym. Miguel climbed up the opposite side, and asked her, “Do you still want to learn about Jesus?” (See the 12-part devotion series, “Biblical Holy Days”, to see what Miguel’s talking about).

Jules stopped climbing, and sat on a bar. “Yes. No. I mean, we’re expecting Messiah to come anytime.”

“Jesus is your Messiah, Jules!” Miguel said quietly.

Jules insisted, “Jesus can’t be Messiah, Miguel. When Messiah comes, He’ll be King! He won’t die. He’ll restore Jerusalem, and the Jewish nation.”

Miguel smiled across the bars at Jules. She smiled back, and said, “If you’re as excited about Jesus as I am about Messiah’s coming, I don’t blame you for wanting to talk about Him.”

This is what grownups call a stalemate, gridlock, tie. Both kids recognized that they are on opposite sides of this issue. Because they’re such good friends, they both just let the subject drop. Nothing’s ever gained by one trying to convince the other that he/she is correct. They wisely agreed to disagree, and remain friends.

Besides, Miguel was getting in God’s way.

There are many ways the Father draws people to Jesus, and He often asks His kids to help. Interaction with people frequently plants seeds of faith in non-believers. But when the subject is going nowhere, it’s best to let it go. Of course we mean well…as did Peter.

But if Jesus had listened to Peter, He would have disobeyed the Father. (That is never smart)! After sinning, Jesus could not have been the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Sure, He wouldn’t have died on the cross, but Scripture would not have been fulfilled. We’d still be condemned to death, looking for another to come—like Jules—never receiving the gift of salvation!

Take Home Nugget

Jesus did what was appropriate (ap-PRO-pri-it means the correct thing). Jesus’ stern scolding was to make a point that Peter never forgot. God has a plan for Jules to come to Christ, but neither we nor Miguel might see it.
Let’s always pray before acting. Never make the mistake of being in God’s way!

Holy Father, I come to You asking for Your help in keeping me out of Your way. Remind me to pray before acting on impulse, and doing the wrong thing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

J.D. Griffith
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