“SIMON, SIMON, SATAN HAS DESIRED YOU THAT HE MIGHT SIFT YOU LIKE WHEAT; BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU THAT YOUR FAITH FAIL NOT.” Luke 22:32-33a
Linda (my wife) and I really like to travel. On occasions we’ve been to Europe, and the beauty as well as the antiquity and quaintness of some of the places is enchanting and nearly intoxicating to me. Linda (red-headed and a bit younger than I) likes moving at a rapid pace, taking in a lot of “stuff” in a single day. It’s what she calls “getting an overview.” For my part, when we come upon a rustic village, I’m content to park, stroll and just enjoy looking around. Having lunch outdoors with the “Locals.” Enjoying their festivities. Or, if we happen to be viewing majestic Alpine peaks as we did from a little “village inn” in the edge of Germany just before crossing into Austria, I simply would not care to go anywhere or do anything else. I’d still be there sketching, or writing or singing “Sound of Music” if it were possible. I could spend hours upon hours, or days, or weeks at the Louvre. Looking up close and marveling at the exquisite detail, or backing away, squinting, and viewing from a distance, the incredible artistry sometimes takes my breath away and just leaves me speechless.
I told Linda that, in my opinion, there are two ways to “see” something. One is to glance. The other is to gaze. I believe the Greeks had words which expressed precisely that difference in definition. One thing I’ve been attempting in these studies is “gazing.” Meditating. Contemplating. Not skipping stones lightly on the surface. I want to really SEE what is here, and HEAR what is being said. Hope you don’t mind my method. If you come upon a truth, which impacts your mind at the deepest level and CHANGES how you think and how you live, you’ll see why I attach much importance to this method.
While we’ve been doing these “studies,” I’ve been trying to get across my belief that God gives us principles by which we can live our own lives. The things He said so long ago and so far away are just as real and relevant today as when they were first uttered. If God, in actual fact, said and did what Scripture says, it is for us, just as it was for them. For you and me, just as it was for any of the “Saints” in Scripture. When Jesus said these words to Simon Peter that night, “Pete” was in the middle of a messy, angry quarrel that was about to explode into a brawl. Can you imagine? Holy Saints alive! The Disciples about to get into a slugfest!!! And this was while Jesus was dealing with Judas’ betrayal and facing the looming reality of the trial and execution. While He was attempting to equip the disciples for their mission and the “sifting” (more like a tornado that was about to be let loose on them.). They were arguing over who was going to be “in charge.”
The point I’m attempting to make is that, if I find myself in anything close to this kind of situation, Jesus would more than likely SAY THE SAME THING TO ME. And to YOU. If you’re in a certain situation, or searching, or hurting, the truths of the Bible are designed with YOU in mind. This is not a “stretch.” I’m not “reaching” for anything. Just listening and thinking. And praying. If I fail to miss the personal message intended for me, perhaps I need to go back, pray, re-read, and re-think my position. Perhaps I need to slow down. Stop. And Gaze. And think. If you feel as if I’m grappling for words at the moment, you’re absolutely correct. The idea. . . just the thought. . .that someone named JESUS IS PRAYING FOR ME. That thought, on the surface, is more than my mind can grasp…at first. It sounds incredible. When you come to believe the truth and incorporate it in your life, it is even more than incredible!
Carol Westbrook, a friend on the West Coast recently wrote to me personally, made some helpful suggestions, and told me she enjoyed my “sermons.” While I appreciate her encouragement, I hope you won’t think of these efforts as “preaching,” “bible-thumping,” or “pulpit-pounding.” If they are “sermons” then we may have set some kind of record just now. “Sermons,” I heard once, “are by definition three points and a poem.” Here’s no poetry. And only one point to ponder and at which to wonder: “JESUS PRAYS FOR YOU. AND ME.”
Earlier, I believe I made the comment that words have meaning. And ideas have consequences. This is a very small phrase, to be sure. But what do you think about the idea of Jesus praying for you? What would it mean as you face heart-rending tragedy, or the loss of someone or some thing you hold dear? Or as you deal with the daily drudge of routine that grinds you down and robs you of joy or a sense of meaning? What would it mean to you if you feel you’ve strayed too far away and stayed away from God too long, if it dawned on you that JESUS IS PRAYING FOR YOU?
Would that enable you to “buckle on your armor, pick up your sword” and go face the enemy like the “Champion” Jesus believes you can be? I’m not a gambler, but I would bet if Jesus believes in me, “bets” on me, this mule is a winner! Not somehow, but triumphantly. Does it even seem possible Jesus would invest effort in, and PRAY for, anyone who’s a loser? Can you even begin to wrap your mind around such an enormous idea? I want to spend a bit more time with this thought myself, before moving on to something else. But here’s something else I hope you will consider when you have more time: If you were God (now THAT IS a “reach.”), . . . stay with me a minute: If you were GOD and your “only begotten Son” came to you on behalf of one of His friends, would you pay attention?
A servant, donkimrey