Satan hates you. Let's be clear about that. He doesn't just dislike you...he hates your guts. Jesus told us that he wants to steal from your life, kill you and destroy all the hope and promise that God has for you. (John 10:10) Are we clear? So, hairy butt (as Lisa refers to him) will use whatever measure to keep you down and depressed, even if you are already a follower of Christ...or should I say, especially if you are a follower of Christ.
Not sure about that? Look at Peter. I have been. For the last couple of days I have been "brushing up against" Peter's life in books and devotions that I read. Jesus declared Peter would be "the Rock" on which the church would be built. Talk about putting a bulls eye on your back, Peter had it. To the very end, Peter lived up to this reputation of being a hard-nosed supporter of Christ who would die for him...almost. There was that one occasion....
You remember it. Peter is standing outside in the courtyard after they have arrested Jesus. He is watching His Savior be led away to who knows what end. Watching from a safe distance. Still echoing in his mind is this startling prediction offered by Christ earlier that evening: "Peter, before the rooster crows you will deny me three times." How could Jesus say such a thing? But sure enough, Jesus' prediction comes true. Peter, the Rock, the stalwart of this group, turns his back on Jesus and denies he ever knew Him.
But catch this. It's an incredible moment in Luke 22:61. It says, "At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter."
Jesus' redemption is never very far away. Peter has just denied any involvement with the Man who would soon die in his place. Before the last words have fallen from his lips, Jesus is beginning His restoration. He looked at him. Now, the Bible doesn't say what was in that look and you can imagine what you will here. I see redemption and grace. Without giving Peter away, Jesus looks at him as if to say, "Hang in there friend. This will all be over soon and you will understand better what is about to happen. Regardless of what you do, I love you."
To borrow words from Joseph in the book of Genesis, Peter might have said, "What you intended for evil Satan, Jesus intended for good." Satan was setting up Peter for a life of guilt and failure. Jesus was building a church. And not just any church. A church built on the lives of people just like you and me who understand our need for His grace, His mercy...His look of love.
More about Peter tomorrow. For now, I confess that I'm too much like him not to appreciate his story.