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Friday, January 9, 2015

Fundamental Questions of the Christian Life # 28

[very worthwhile reading!]

Need for Self-Discovery (continued)

Peter's need was of a Master. But, in order to have a Master, a man like that has to be utterly broken. And that happened to Peter. Not only is it recorded that he went out and wept bitterly, after his terrible failure and breakdown and in his self-discovery, but it is recorded that the risen Lord, after sending a message to His disciples, then specified that it should be conveyed to Peter. The heavenly messenger said: "Go, tell His disciples and Peter ..." (Mark 16:7). One thing that impresses you in those resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus is how He knew all that was going on. He knew, for instance, exactly how Thomas had been behaving and talking, even though He Himself had not been visibly present. He could tell them just what had been going on inside of them, and all they had been doing. And so He knew about Peter, too, and what had been happening with him. Somewhere, in his brokenness, his humiliation, his despair, was Peter, necessitating that the Lord should say: "Go, tell My disciples, and Peter ..." Was he not a disciple? Why specify? Surely the reason is obvious. The man needs some special help: he is broken, he is shattered; a special message must go to him - he must be mentioned by name. 'Say to Peter ... The Lord has not only sent a general message, but He has sent it to you - He has mentioned you by name.'

Just think how you would feel if you were in his position and condition. 'The Lord - the Lord! The last time I saw the Lord was when He looked at me. It was that look that broke me, that shattered me, as I was denying Him. That look I shall never forget. He looked at me.' The word that is used there about the Lord 'looking upon' Peter (Luke 22:61) is a rather strong word. There are different words for 'look', but this word means "to look upon attentively or fixedly.' His eyes rested upon him, held him, went right through him. That was the last time Peter had seen the Lord, and that look had done its work. Those eyes knew him, and now Peter had come to know himself as the Lord knew him. It is a terrible thing when that happens. And to think that the Lord should say, "... an Peter!" 'Could He ever think of me again? Could He ever have anything to do with me again? Do I still stand with Him in the company of His disciples?'

The Mastery of Christ

Now the point is this: that this is the making of a servant - this is the training of a servant of Jesus Christ. This came; and, having come, it led to two things. Firstly, it led to the mastery of Christ. The real mastery of Christ, though we may call Him Master and Lord, is not established until our own mastery of ourselves has been shattered and broken. How often did Peter, who called Jesus 'Master" and 'Lord' seek to dictate to Him, to tell Him - the Lord - what He ought to do and what He ought not to do - what He might do and what He was not allowed to do! Yes, we can call Him "Lord," and we can call Him "Master." But the way of real service is that He become Master in reality, and that necessates our brokenness.

Look at Peter on the day of Pentecost, and afterward, and look right on to his letters. Listen to him speaking; read what he writes. Jesus is Master of this man, now. That is the first thing that came out of this shattering. It is a law of usefulness and service to the Lord - make no mistake about it. If you aspire to service, if you are thinking in terms of Christian work, if you are desirous of being of real value to the Lord - put it how you will - you can take it that the way is here 'writ large for all to see.' This man Peter stands out as a servant of Jesus Christ of no mean order, and the way by which he became that was the way of Jesus Christ becoming his absolute Master. He stands for the great principle of submission to Christ, without which there can be no usefulness to Him. Our value to the Lord really beings - not when He becomes our Saviour, but when He becomes our Lord. Those two things can happen at the same time, but with many they stand far apart.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 29 - (An Overwhelming Appreciation of Grace)

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