How many of us, in times past, have thought that we could change the world. We have gone forward, boldly declaring in unsanctified zeal, (our own strength), believing it was of God, only to discover failure in some area we were so sure of. God permits this to teach us that the strongholds of our wrong believing can influence us and speak louder than the voice of God. We have to learn the difference and need the Holy Spirit to give us discernment and guide us. ” Our emotions make excellent servants but tyrannical masters!” (quote by John Seymour).
Luke 22 records the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest, prior to His crucifixion. Verses 31-32 depict Jesus addressing Simon Peter, knowing what was in Peter and how forthcoming events would evolve: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not, and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren”.
The record continues with Peter reacting in his own zealous belief of his own self righteousness: verses 33-34 “And Peter said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You, both into prison and to death. Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before you shall deny that you know Me three times”.
Luke 22 continues with the record of Jesus’ arrest. Verse 54 states that Peter “followed afar off”, keeping watch over the unfolding events which reveal Peter denying to various people that he knew Jesus, or was, in some way, associated with Him. Immediately after his third denial, the cock crowed, just as Jesus had prophesied. Jesus turned, and looked straight at Peter. Peter remembered Jesus’ words and “…went out and wept bitterly”, verse 62.
Have you ever experienced that knowing look from Jesus that has brought regret at your failure in something? Maybe, you also, have wept bitterly at the disappointment in yourself, thinking you were so right, but discovered you were so wrong and incapable of what seemed such a good idea. It is impossible to fulfil the will of God in our own strength and zeal. Only when we come to the end of ourselves and good works can God begin to show us that we have to be an empty vessel, in order for Him to fill us with His power, the resurrection life of His Son. Christ in you, the hope of glory! The life of Jesus Christ can flow through us, but it is not OF us, but OF God, bringing all the credit to His holy name. Thine is the glory!
When Peter wept bitterly, he did not know that another day was coming when the Lord would redeem all his failure and fill him with the Holy Spirit, making him into a new man with a zeal that was no longer of himself, but deposited from God. (Pentecost was recorded in the first chapters of the Book of Acts. )
John 21 records the events of the third time Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples after His resurrection. The scene is set on the shores of Tiberias. In their despondency, some of the disciples had returned to fishing. (As yet, they had never left their fishing in their hearts, but after Pentecost they were radically transformed to become fishers of men. God performed the divine exchange). The chapter unfolds Jesus’ well known dialogue with Peter, as He questions Peter’s love for Him, then gives him a commission to “feed My sheep” – (which Peter went on to do after He received Holy Ghost power at Pentecost. Peter could never have fulfilled that commission in his own strength.)
Jesus continues to expound to Peter in this chapter regarding Peter’s life. John 21:18 “……When you were young you girded yourself and walked where you wanted to, but when you shall be old you shall stretch forth your hands and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not”. As we journey on with the Lord we discover we have a lot of “would nots” in our lives. The Lord reveals to us our unwillingness to go to people, places, circumstances that, in the natural, we do not want. God is not interested in our willingness, it only gives us substance to glory in: e.g. “Well! At least I was willing!”. God does not want our willingness, He wants our surrender: “nevertheless, not my will, Lord, but Thine be done”. After our surrender to Him we discover the truth of His word: “……work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (holy respect), for it is God who works in you both to WILL and to DO of His good pleasure”, Philippians 2: 12-13.
When God sees the resistance in us, this is the place where He wants to work. Here He seeks our surrender. God is not a shoddy worker. When I get in line with Him, there is an effectiveness and change in my life.
Our Father is ever seeking a surrendered people. Surrender is always in the now, ever current. Lord, bring me to that place where that look from Jesus pierces my heart and brings a joyful response, whether it be repentance or surrender, that I may choose Your will and experience the consequence of Your sweetness and rest.