Jesus’ Disciples: Andrew

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 31, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As we continue our look at who Jesus’ disciples were, this week we’ll learn a bit more about Andrew.

Andrew’s name is Greek, and it means “manliness.” We read about Andrew being from Bethsaida in Galilee, along with Philip and Peter, in John 1:44, and in fact, Andrew was Peter’s brother (Matthew 10:2).

Andrew was one of the very first disciples who Jesus called. The gospel of John tells us the detailed story in John 1:35-41:
“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’
They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’
‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).’”

Matthew 4:18-20 gives us the highlights of this same story: “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

We see from both of these accounts that Andrew was the first disciple whom Jesus called, and then Peter was shortly thereafter. They both left their occupation as fishermen to follow Jesus, and they did so pretty immediately.

Another time we see Andrew called out specifically in Scripture is in the feeding of the 5000 in John 6:1-15. In verse 8, Andrew is the one who finds the boy with five loaves and two fishes that Jesus ends up multiplying to feed the very large crowd.

While Peter, James, and John are generally considered to be Jesus’ “inner circle” of His twelve disciples, we see that Andrew was included in this group in Mark 13 when Jesus is discussing signs of the end times. Andrew is one of those who asked Jesus about when the temple would be destroyed in verse 3. After that question, Jesus goes into a great discourse about the end times and what will happen, though of course, we still do not know the day or the hour when that will occur (verse 32).

Andrew was also involved when some of the Greeks wanted to see Jesus. John 12:20-22 says, “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.” Perhaps Philip included Andrew in this because of his Greek name, but that is only speculation.

Andrew is also mentioned in Acts 1:13 as being with the group of the disciples after Jesus ascended into heaven. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14). Andrew remained as one of Jesus’ disciples after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; he kept the faith and did not fall away.

There is a theme in three of these encounters that’s important to note: Andrew was instrumental in bringing 3 different people to Christ: his brother Peter, the boy with the loaves and fish, and the Greeks. While that does not necessarily mean bringing them to faith in Christ as we’re familiar with that phrase today, but simply bringing these people into the presence of Jesus while He was on earth. Sometimes all it takes is one encounter with Jesus for a person to have faith, and while we do know Peter’s story, we don’t know what happened with the boy or the Greeks. Perhaps they became believers in Jesus too because of Andrew’s involvement; we don’t have that recorded in Scripture.

Who are you leading to Jesus? That may not mean actually praying the prayer that helps that person come to faith, but perhaps just introducing someone to Jesus through your actions or words. Sometimes, all it takes is one encounter with Jesus for a person to dedicate their life to Him. Are you allowing the Spirit to guide you and use you as Andrew was used to bring people into an encounter with Jesus?

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Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 28, 2020 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Earlier this year, I had someone approach me on Facebook with all sorts of doubt about the existence of God and especially about miracles. This person said he was raised in the church, but he revealed that it was a “Word of Faith” church that emphasized “miraculous healing.” He observed that what he saw was fake and became disillusioned. However, instead of going to Scripture to test what he was seeing, he dismissed God and religion all together. One of the sources he gave me to showcase his claims was one called “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?”.

I knew immediately that there would be all sorts of problems with this page and the book it is based on, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we as Christians need to be able to give an answer to this question. I did not read through the whole website because it turns out it’s basically just this author’s book. But in the parts I did read, I could see where it was going.

The opening described a school shooting and how a teacher prayed for safety only to be shot and killed. His conclusion? That God didn’t answer her prayers because He doesn’t exist. The premise of the whole thing is: Prayer is just an emotional feel good blanket; because science has shown that prayer can’t work and miracles don’t happen because there’s no evidence for them, therefore God doesn’t exist. In another section, the author goes through over twenty explanations that Christians have given to why God doesn’t answer every possible prayer out there and he attempts to dismiss each one. The whole notion is foolishness and horribly devoid of logic in my opinion. It showcases a lack of understanding of prayer, a lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty, and a lack of understanding of who God really is. It says God is a liar because He promised that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name, it will be given to us… but anything major like restoring a limb or something obviously miraculous is not in the realm of possibilities.

In this post, I am going to the real heart of the issue. The REAL issue is not: “Prove to me that God exists through authentic miracles like restoring a missing limb.” The REAL question being asked here is: “Why would a good God allow people to suffer and not fix them when they ask for help?” When the cliché goes, “God, it’s no wonder you have so few friends considering how you treat the ones you have,” we need to be able to give a reasonable answer for this.

Joni Eareckson Tada was 17 years old when she dove into a pond that was too shallow and broke her neck, paralyzing her. She has spent the rest of her life as a quadriplegic, yet she is an outspoken artist with her mouth and a public speaker. I’m sure she had many people praying for her to be healed that she could live a “normal” life. But I have never heard her complaining about the injury, and instead she has praised God for the life she has had.

Nick Vujicic is an Australian man who was born with no limbs except for a small stumpy foot. He went through a lot of problems growing up, both physically and emotionally. But he has a wife and at least one child last I heard, is a public speaker, can swim without limbs, and like Tada, he refuses to play victim to the circumstances he was given. Why doesn’t God do a miracle and give him limbs? Why didn’t God heal Tada? Is it because God is inept or because He doesn’t exist, or is there much more to the picture?

I have a nephew and niece whom were adopted, and they suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It’s permanent brain damage. Could God heal them? Sure. Will He? I don’t know if He will in this lifetime or not.

A skeptic may say that I’m trying to just give God excuses, but the skeptic is not exactly being honest in his evaluation either. God is a sovereign God. That means more than just God is in control of things. It also means that everything that He allows to take place or cause to happen is for His goals and His purposes. I’m going to make this very clear: God does not exist for us. He is not out there to make us happy or to fulfill our wishes and dreams. God created us for HIS purposes. He let Bartimaeus be born blind for the purpose of showcasing Jesus’ authority as the Son of Man. God’s ways our not our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He sees the whole picture and we don’t. Who are we to judge Him?

Voddie Baucham has another answer to this and it’s very powerful. The author of this “Why doesn’t God heal amputees?” site suggests that because God doesn’t do the miracles he wants to see in the timing or manner he would prefer to see them, then God must not exist. That’s terrible logic. Baucham turns it around and I’ll use his tactic. This author is asking the question wrong. To ask it properly, he needs to ask it this way: “How could a holy, righteous, loving God, look at what I did, said, and thought upon yesterday and not kill me in my sleep?” If we are concerned about God not restoring a limb or making the truly lame walk today, should we not be even more concerned about how God is letting us live AT ALL? What right do we have to live? I’m serious about that. We’ve all sinned. We’ve all committed treachery against the Creator in defiance of His will. There’s only one thing any of us deserve and that’s death. We deserve the wrath of Almighty God. Who are we to accuse God of not letting our lives be just fluffy and rosy and giving us everything our sinful, selfish hearts desire? Where is the flaw? Is it in God or is in us? If you want to indict God on anything, you best make sure your life is completely perfect. Good luck with that.

The issue of why God doesn’t heal amputees is only one specific example of what skeptics are using to deny God His place of authority. I’m going to explore this issue a little further over the next couple of weeks, but not in great detail. I’ll address how praying for a miracle should look like as well as what the Doctrine of Suffering entails.

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Jesus’ Disciples: John

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 24, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week, we discussed Jesus’ disciple James, son of Zebedee. The disciple for this week is John, James’ brother. John was also present in many of the stories we read in the gospels about James, so I’m not going to write about those same narratives again here. Just like with the name James, there are multiple Johns we hear about in the New Testament. John the apostle is the son of Zebedee, not to be confused with John the Baptist or the John who was also known as Mark (or John-Mark).

John the apostle was one of Jesus’ inner circle along with Peter and James. These three witnessed the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43), witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus together (Matthew 17:1-13), and went further into the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus and were commanded to watch and pray (Matthew 26:36-46). John had an occupation as a fisherman before he was called by Jesus to be a disciple.

But John has an identity among the disciples that’s all his own as well. He wrote the gospel of John in the New Testament, which is believed to be the last of the four that was written, possibly as late as 90-100 AD. The other three gospel accounts are very similar in nature and contain many of the same accounts, but John approaches the story of Jesus from a slightly different perspective. The purpose of writing this gospel is stated clearly in passages such as this: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John gives his own testimony so that the believers who receive it will experience their faith as he has. John’s gospel was written primarily for those who already believe to be able to fight heresies (beliefs that go against Christianity), whereas the other gospels were written to unbelievers at earlier dates.

One of the main heresies of John’s day was Gnosticism, believing that Jesus was not fully human. John’s gospel provides a more detailed character sketch of Jesus than the other gospels. He starts by showing Jesus as the divine Word from the Father, but then also shows Jesus’ humanity. Another heresy of the day was that John the Baptist had the same religious authority as Jesus, which John shows in his gospel to be clearly false. John the Baptist was a fully human prophet, whereas Jesus was fully God and fully human.

An interesting fact about John’s gospel is that he appears to never mention his own name. As a follower of Jesus, even though his mom wanted him to be one of the great ones in Jesus’ Kingdom, John modeled humility. Rather than bragging on himself, he would call himself “another disciple,” the “beloved disciple,” or “the one whom Jesus loved.” These phrases are used many times in the gospel, and it’s clear from the context and other historical accounts that they refer to John. While He was on the cross, Jesus showed His love for John by entrusting him to take care of Jesus’ mother Mary (John 19:26-27).

While brothers James and John share many experiences during Jesus’ life and ministry, we often find Peter and John together as well. They follow Jesus after His betrayal and to the high priest’s courtyard (John 18:15-16). Mary Magdalene tells the two of them first the news of the resurrection, and they are the ones who run to see what happened (John 20:1-10). After the resurrection, Peter and John are fishing with some others when Jesus revealed Himself to them (John 21:1-7). Peter and John do ministry together in Acts 3-4, doing healings, sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus, being put in jail, then being sent to testify before the religious authorities.

John became a leader at the church in Jerusalem, but then much of his personal history goes unrecorded. He wrote the letters of 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, as well as the book of Revelation. It is believed that he retired to Ephesus, as we see him having a special affection for the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2-3. We know that John suffered persecution for his work with the early church and was banished to the island of Patmos. It is believed that he returned to Ephesus later where he died, probably around the year 98 AD, having outlived all of his companions from the early days with Jesus on earth.

So what can we learn from John about being a disciple of Jesus? The main theme we can learn from John’s life is to keep the faith. Many of the original disciples died young as martyrs, while John was able to live a long life. But he never gave up his faith in Jesus, from the time Jesus called him as a young fisherman until his death. His writings and his leadership in the church helped educate the early church so they would remain true to the gospel message and the facts about Jesus. He did not compromise the truth even when faced with persecution.

What are you doing to live a consistently faithful life, to help educate yourself and the other believers around you as John did?

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Where Is the Flaw?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 21, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the annoying knee-jerk reactions I frequently receive when I preach the truth of Scripture is, “That’s just your interpretation.” I hear it as though the other person has it all figured out themselves. Sometimes I respond with, “Isn’t that just your interpretation?” Sometimes, I respond with, “It’s not MY interpretation. It’s what it says.” Many people have confused church tradition with what Scripture says, but other people have confused the process of eisegesis and exegesis: they think they are doing a study of the text of Scripture when they are actually just inserting their already established ideas into the text.

How do we solve these issues? The first thing we have to do when coming to a conflict between Scripture and any idea is to ask this question: Where is the flaw? Which position needs to go to the examination board first? When it comes to origins, it’s amazing how many people will say we need to examine our understanding of Scripture, and there is partial truth to that. But why are they saying this? Because they have this notion that what they have learned in “science class” is fact. I wrote a few months ago about the dangers of brainwashing, namely in science, where the secular-humanistic worldview of naturalism is being equated with “science” when science is nowhere to be found. There is clearly a conflict between what Genesis states naturally and what the “science” says. So, which one should get examined first? Where is the flaw? Is it our understanding of Scripture that needs examination first? Or is it the science that needs examination?

There are ministries out there which teach that the Bible and science must agree, but be watching their tactics. Which is made to agree to what? Science to the Bible, or the Bible to science? In EVERY Old Earth model, the science is left alone for examination and the Bible’s “interpretation” must be off because the “science” says otherwise. You will hear them say they are happy to be shown to be wrong about the science, but you can tell when they are shown by science how wrong they are that they aren’t willing to change for the life of them. Where is the flaw? These Old Earth ministries think it’s in the Bible (I’ve heard them say “the Bible is unclear” or even “the Bible is wrong.”) Do they actually examine themselves or their own models? Hardly.

Now, so you don’t hear what I am not saying, there are MANY times where someone does indeed misinterpret Scripture. But how is that corrected? By an outside source that has no authority on what Scripture is and what it means? Or is it rather by a more accurate study of the text in the context of what is being said? When you hear the claims that the Bible contradicts itself, you can easily resolve most of said claims simply by reading the context of said verses. But again, where is the flaw? Is the flaw in Scripture, or is the flaw in man?

So many skeptics speak about the Bible as having no voice itself, and many Christians have the same approach. Do we as Christians not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us? Does not the Author of Scripture dwell in our presence as we read Scripture? We don’t have perfect understanding of Scripture. I don’t; I get things wrong all the time. That’s why I don’t rely on MY understanding of Scripture. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

If an interpretation is wrong, there will be clues for why. Look at the motivation for making such statements. Look at the resources used. Why did the people making the claims say what they said? Augustine is cited by Old Earthers frequently because he did not believe in a six-day creation. He believed in an instantaneous creation (hardly what OEC’s position states). But why did he believe it? Was it because of an in-depth study of the text of Scripture? No. It was merely because he did not understand why God needed to take six days. It was because of doubt and unbelief of the text. Where was the flaw in Augustine – in Scripture, or Augustine? The flaw was in Augustine.

But what about all those Christians who don’t act right, or are unloving, or supported slavery, or “fill in the blank”? I ask: “What about them?” Whenever I find someone blaming God for the behavior of some of His followers, I point them to Romans 3:1-4. If someone is in error (and I am sometimes to often in this category myself), that person isn’t the standard; God is. If I am not pointing people towards Christ, if I am not exalting His name, then perhaps I should not be listened to. But if I am going to be rejected, I’ll know if said person is saying so because they are zealous for the truth and love God, or whether it is because I am exposing their own evil deeds. I can take correction, but I also know who to take it from.

It’s interesting how people, who try to blame Christianity based on what people who claim its name do when it is in contrast to what Christianity teaches, will defend their own position (such as Evolution) and separate themselves from those who actually carry out what comes out of said teachings. Many Evolutionists hate it when Creationists use Hitler as the poster child of what Evolution teaches, yet nearly every, if not all, Evolutionist prior to Hitler’s reign was exactly what they are accused of being. Evolution didn’t change post-Hitler. The teachings are the same. Modern Evolutionists who decry what Hitler did and distance themselves from him do not practice themselves what Evolution naturally leads to. Where is the flaw? Was it Hitler’s application, or the modern Evolutionists’ interpretation? Or the entire notion of Evolution itself? I’ll say Hitler is the one who got Evolution correct, and it’s the modern Evolutionists who don’t understand what it is themselves.

Where is the flaw? The problems with this world can be summed with a one-word answer: SIN. The cause of these problems can be summed up with a one-word answer too: YOU (and me). The flaw lies with you. It lies with me. We have all sinned. We all fall short. We all miss the mark. We all have core flaws. There is only one who got it completely correct: Jesus Christ. He is the only one without a flaw. That is why I do not trust me to figure it all out (and being an intellectual type, that is not easy to do, and I fail miserably at this often), but I lean on God to make His Word clear and straightforward. Then there is the obedience part of it, but how can we obey unless we know what truth there is to obey? This is why so many refuse to let Scripture speak clearly, because if it is open to interpretation, then its command for obedience cannot be upheld. But if it is clear, then no matter how we may want to say it is otherwise, we are held responsible for believing and obeying it. If you believe Scripture as written and take God at His Word, then He is responsible for what happens to you and the fallout. But if you want to make Scripture fit what you’d prefer, then you will be held responsible for it against a pure, perfect, and holy God. I’ll stick with God being the standard… not me.

Where is the flaw? Let us examine ourselves, because that is a good place to start looking.

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Jesus’ Disciples: James

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 17, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Who is Jesus’ disciple James? First of all, there are two different men named James who were a part of Jesus’ band of twelve followers: one was the son of Zebedee, and the other was the son of Alphaeus. Today, we’re going to look at James the son of Zebedee.

James is often referred to with his brother John, together known as the sons of Zebedee. Jesus also gave them the name Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17), likely because of their boldness and energy. We see from Mark 1:16-20 that James was a fisherman with his brother John and their father Zebedee before Jesus called the brothers to be His disciples. In the account of this event in Luke 5:1-10, we see there that James and his brother John were fishing partners with Simon Peter. This account ends with Jesus telling them, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10).

It was James’ occupation to catch fish. James’ father was a fisherman, and James and his brother John were fishermen, so that was what they knew: catching fish. Fishing likely encompassed basically all of their lives to this point. Jesus took what they knew and used that as a metaphor for what He was calling them into. Instead of catching fish, they would now be “catching” people for Jesus’ mission.

This is our first lesson on being Jesus’ disciple from James: our mission is not only to follow Jesus but to join Him in His mission. Jesus came to earth on a mission to save all of humanity. To do that, people would need to get to know Him and His teachings, then make the choice to follow Him or not. We don’t see James and John asking Jesus a bunch of questions to make sure that’s what they wanted to do; they simply started following Him. The account in Mark makes this look like it was an almost immediate thing, whereas the account in Luke gives us a bit more of a story of Jesus showing them who He was before they followed Him. Either way, the end result was that they knew that following Jesus was the right thing to do, so James and John did it.

The next account we’ll look at for James is when he was present as Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter back to life. You can read the full account in Mark 5:21-43. Jairus was a leader in the synagogue, and his daughter who was around 12 years old was dying. Jairus knew that Jesus could heal her so they started toward his house, but then they got stuck by the crowds who often followed Jesus. In the midst of the crowd, a woman with a bleeding issue touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed, which stopped them from their mission of getting to Jairus’ house. Before they could get there, they receive word that Jairus’ daughter had died. Jesus encourages Jairus to still have faith. Once they finally arrive at Jairus’ house, only Peter, James, and John are permitted to go inside with Jesus. They got to witness Jesus speaking to the girl and her coming miraculously back to life!

Why was James included in this trio of men to be Jesus’ inner circle? That really isn’t spelled out for us in Scripture, but it is clear that James was a truly devoted follower of Jesus by this point. Jesus must have had a particularly close relationship with these three that they were allowed to witness this powerful moment with Him.

Perhaps that is why James and John’s mother makes a big request of Jesus for the sake of her sons in the next passage we’ll look at today. You can read it in Matthew 20:20-28. The boys’ mom asks Jesus to make sure her sons will sit at Jesus’ right and left in His Kingdom. These positions would mean that James and John would share in Jesus’ power and prestige. But their mother clearly doesn’t know what she’s asking. While she is the one who actually asks the question, the context shows that her sons were right there and not stopping her. They all knew that Jesus was a powerful person to know after all they had seen of Him to this point, but they were likely still thinking it was political or social power for this world.

Jesus’ reprimand of their asking this question gives us another lesson in discipleship: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28). The point of following Jesus is not to become great in this world. We must be focused on being a servant to all, just as Jesus was, rather than trying to make a great name for ourselves. Sure, people may recognize us and applaud us for our service when they see it, but our focus needs to be on doing what Jesus did - serving others, even to the point of giving up His life for the whole world.

So what ended up happening to James? Acts 12:1-2 tells us, “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.” Being “put to death with the sword” means that James was beheaded. This likely happened around the year 44 AD, so approximately 10-15 years after Jesus was crucified.

While we don’t have many details on what this Son of Thunder did to show his faith after Jesus’ death, clearly he was seen as a threat by King Herod. James clearly lived a life that followed Jesus even after Jesus’ earthly ministry, and he died a martyr’s death for his faith in Jesus.

If James could boldly live out his faith in a time of intense persecution such as the middle of the first century, what are you doing to boldly live out your faith today in 2020?

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Hope Through Suffering

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 14, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

If you have been following the last ten weeks as I’ve written on brainwashing, the Hegelian Dialectic Process, and what I believe about upcoming tribulation for American Christians and you are feeling either overwhelmed or fearful, I understand. Dealing with the topic of suffering is anathema to most in American Christianity. Most don’t want to hear it. Many will rebuke any person who dares bring up the topic. Yet there are some who are going through it and are asking: “What is the deal?” One of the reasons why Richard Wurmbrand started Voice of the Martyrs is because he wanted us here in the West to be alert about what is really happening to the Christians in the rest of the world.

Last week, I gave a warning that great suffering I believe is coming to us here in the U.S. If I’ve ever come close to “prophesying,” this would be it, and I do not consider myself a prophet or son or a prophet or what not. For the record, I am NOT saying this is a prophecy, but I say this to show how urgent the weight I feel on this issue is. I’m not alone on this one either. In many circles I’m, I’m hearing similar things. On a Facebook post that Voice of the Martyrs posted about the Tortured for Christ DVD, I posted that I had watched and seen in, then said that we need to be preparing for such suffering coming to us. I received many responses; most said they agreed, however, some responded with “Pray with me that it doesn’t happen.” I said, “I’ll pray that God does what He needs to do.”

Suffering is part of the Christian life. Jesus said it would come, and the closer to you get to God, the more suffering you will face. Just ask Job when God brought Job to Satan’s attention. Just ask Peter when Satan asked for permission to get at him on the very night Jesus would be betrayed. Jesus gave it to him and prayed for Peter that he would endure it. Just ask Paul when he was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten five times, ran out of town many times, and ultimately beheaded. Just ask the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” and that they endured as recorded at the end of Hebrews 11. Suffering is part of our life.

Let me also say this: we cannot be conformed into the image of Christ without suffering. Why? Because suffering is the only way to get sin out of our lives and to get us to rely and depend upon Christ instead of ourselves. My pastor told a story of a man who was dying of cancer. He asked his pastor if he would pray that God would heal him of cancer. The pastor responded: “This cancer has brought you closer to God than 40 years of my preaching. I will not pray for you to be healed. But I will pray that this cancer cannot take a single more cell without God’s permission.”

Suffering is not pleasant, but Paul took a position that most people really just skim over. He rejoiced over his suffering. He counted suffering as gain, because it brought him and others closer to Christ. That is what we are to do when it comes to suffering: rejoice. Again, Richard Wurmbrand is a modern example. He was put into solitary confinement for three years; he was in such darkness for so long that it nearly blinded him. And he came out simply glowing because he was with Christ every day. He took beatings from the Communist guards as a joy. The movie showcases a man preaching to the group and the guards come in and beat him up. He returns, hardly able to stand, and immediate says: “Where was I?” How do they handle this? How will we handle all this suffering I fear we may face, possibly within our lifetime?

This one is something I still have to wrestle with to really grasp, but Wurmbrand said that knowing Psalm 23 didn’t help him at all in prison. He had to know the Shepherd of which the Psalm speaks. Memorizing Scripture is vital, because when the Bible is taken from us, we will only have our memory to rely on. I am an intellectual type and I know Scripture very well, though I still have much to learn of it. But mere head knowledge of Scripture won’t help me when I face this kind of persecution. Knowing Whom Scripture reveals will help me. But how can I know Him, if I don’t know His Word?

The Apostle James knew the Savior. When he was executed, he had such a confident air and hope about him that his executioner confessed Christ and asked to be executed with James so he wouldn’t die alone. James was the first of the Apostles to be executed. How did he do that? He knew the Savior, but he also knew something else that Herod didn’t know.

Paul said the sufferings of this world are mere trifles, only here for a moment. He knew what suffering was, even more than Richard Wurmbrand. He was beaten, he was imprisoned, and he was even stoned, not to mention shipwrecked, faced robbers and thieves, many nights homeless in the cold, friends betraying him, other friends either abandoning him or couldn’t find him. He knew about suffering. And he counted it all as joy. How? Here is another clue. He had his eye on the prize. He had what Leonard Ravenhill described as “eternity stamped upon his eyeballs.” He saw the spiritual side of things and thus looked past the sufferings of this life, which is only for a few years, and then eternity. I heard of one pastor who was in a service when thugs came in and pointed guns at everyone, saying if anyone did not deny Christ they would be shot. The pastor looked at them and said, “How dare you threaten me with heaven?”

There is hope for us. Suffering is coming. Persecution will come here to the United States. It may or may not happen in my lifetime. But I have a duty to prepare both myself and the next generation for it. When it comes, there won’t be any prep time left. But if we prepare our minds and our spirits to be ready for it, when it comes, we’ll be ready. A couple months ago I wrote about being “sifted like wheat.” This persecution will be a sifting. What is going to be left? Will we find Christ, or will we find complete and total ruin? Some of the latter may be saved, but they will be saved as though through fire, with total loss. Only his life will be spared. But the man who suffers for the name of Christ and endures, the reward he will receive will be great.

We can stand in confidence of our salvation and the hope of Christ that is in us. I want to make this clear: we don’t have the strength to endure such suffering; only Christ does. Here is what that means. It won’t be us in our own strength who endures this suffering; it will be Christ preserving us. The ones who endure are the ones whom God preserves. He may allow us to fall for a season if that is what it takes to convince us once for all to rely upon him (like Peter), but He ultimately will preserve us all the way to the end. When this comes, let us rely on Him because He knows what is best for us and He has a goal to conform us into the image of Christ.

If the past couple months have been hard on you in reading these posts, I understand. But I have a sense of urgency about me and I had to cover this. Turn to Christ and turn to Him always and only. Nothing else can satisfy us and nothing else will preserve us. Christ will. And while suffering is something no one wants to go through heading into it, those who truly have known Christ in His power and have seen Him do His work in and through it don’t regret it. The day will come when all suffering will end and if we can gain Christ through it, then we must press through and pursue Him. The worst they can do to us is send us to Christ sooner rather than later. Why should we fear when the King is on His throne?

If you have committed your life to Christ, stay strong and don’t give in. Jesus won’t give up on you. If you have not committed your life to Christ, beware because you aren’t safe either. Wurmbrand described how a Communist was imprisoned by his own people and tortured. The man was baffled at this and realized that if a Communist tortured a Communist it was for torture’s sake, not good overcoming evil (in his mind), so that must make them unmitigated evil. But if there is unmitigated evil, there must be unmitigated good, and that which evil opposes must be good. The Communist told his guards they could stop torturing him because it had done its work: he was now a Christian. The guards couldn’t believe it. When evil comes, no one is safe, not even the instigators and perpetrators. The only hope anyone has is through Christ. Please make peace with Him before it’s too late.

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Jesus' Disciples: Peter, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 10, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Have you ever said or even promised that you’d never do something, and then ended up doing exactly that? You’re not alone, because that’s what we see Peter did in our next look into his life, which we started looking at last week.

Check out Mark 14:27-31. We see Peter as the bold one again, speaking up when others don’t. It is clear from this passage that Peter has now started to really learn the lessons of discipleship and is becoming more truly dedicated to following Jesus – or else he spoke before he really thought about what he was saying! Peter assures Jesus that even if everyone else falls away from Him, he surely won’t! Jesus calls him out on this and not only tells him that he will disown Him, but exactly when and how many times! If I were Peter I’d be thinking I need to remember not to do that! Peter claims that even to the death, he will not deny Jesus.

What happens next? Peter denies Jesus 3 times, just as Jesus said he would. Read verses 66-72. In spite of Peter’s bold confidence just a little while earlier, his fear got the best of him. He wasn’t being asked about Jesus by people who had authority to actually persecute him for being associated with Jesus; but instead, he was challenged primarily by a simple servant girl. In spite of having followed Jesus for 3 years, Peter had a moment of human weakness and let his fears get the best of him.

Being humans, all of us will stumble and fall like Peter did. Even when we promise to keep following Jesus in every aspect of life, we will have moments where our human fears get the best of us and we, too, will deny the one whom we claim to follow. It is in times like these that we are especially thankful for God’s grace – that He loves us, forgives us, and still encourages us to keep following Him.

After Peter denied Jesus, I can only imagine the emotions he felt. He denied the person he loved and followed for 3 years, right before Jesus’ death! But, our God is always the God of second chances – or as many chances as we need. Read John 21:15-19 to see how Peter was empowered to keep following Jesus as a disciple.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Here, Peter has the opportunity to directly refute that and to tell Jesus he loves Him 3 times. It is significant that it’s 3 times; in that culture, if someone said something or asked you something 3 times it meant that they really and truly meant it. Again at the end of this passage, Jesus calls Peter to follow Him, echoing the words that started Peter on this crazy journey of being Jesus’ disciple.

As a disciple of Jesus, we always get another chance after we mess up. Like Peter, we need to be constantly reminded that we are Jesus’ disciples. We need to remember who our true teacher is and what it is we are called to do. Just because we mess up, even if it feels like a huge mess up, we are still called to follow Jesus.

What did Peter do next? He went on to receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and preach to multitudes of people (read about this in Acts 2). He did truly become one of the founding members of the early church, as Jesus said he would. It was Peter’s mission throughout the book of Acts to take the gospel to the Jews. But in Acts 10, he had a realization that changed the face of the church forever.

We meet a man named Cornelius in this passage. He is a Gentile and not a Jew, but yet we see that he fears God and prays regularly. One day, Cornelius has a vision of God, telling him to send for Peter. The next day, Peter is praying on a rooftop and he, too, has a vision. He sees a sheet coming down from heaven with all sorts of animals on it – animals that were considered unclean, or not to be eaten, by Jews. The voice of God tells him to go ahead and eat these animals. Peter says he can’t do that; this happens 3 times. Right after that, the people arrive who were sent by Cornelius to get Peter. The Spirit tells Peter it’s ok to go with them, so he does. The concern here was that it was against Jewish law to go visit at the house of a Gentile.

Cornelius shares his vision with Peter, and Peter shares the message of the gospel with Cornelius and everyone in the house – a house full of Gentiles. Up to this point, the gospel had been still primarily for the religious Jews, but not any more! Read Acts 10:44-48.

Everyone is realizing that the message of Jesus Christ and receiving of the Holy Spirit are truly for everyone – not just the Jews anymore. This was a huge eye-opening moment for Peter, and it changed the way he did ministry. Peter still leaned toward ministering to Jews, while Paul worked with the Gentiles, but it was a definite change for the early church as a whole. After this incident, Peter goes back to the believers in Judea and has to explain what happened to them, and he was able to open their eyes too.

So what does this tell us about being disciples? Well, it’s not just for “us” – those people who look like us, act like us, grew up like us, etc. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is truly for everybody! It is not our place to judge them; if they want to be a disciple, we need to encourage them in that walk.

Have you done things that you’ve regretted, like Peter’s denial of Jesus? Have you repented and accepted the true forgiveness that Jesus offers? We’re never too lost to receive another chance when we truly repent. Jesus is always there, waiting for you to be ready to come back to Him. We need to remember that all people are made in God’s image and have the opportunity to be Jesus’ disciples, no matter what walk of life they’re from. I hope learning more about Peter’s life has encouraged you to apply these principles to your life as you live out being Jesus’ disciple.

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Preparing to Suffer

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 7, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This is not going to be an easy post to go through, and this is perhaps the absolute worst message I or anyone else could give to the average American “Christian” today if I were to expect a thunderous applause. This issue has been heavy on my heart for a couple of years. It was sparked by a sermon by Eric Ludy who “lent his microphone” to Richard Wurmbrand for a sermon; that is, he gave a message that Wurmbrand would have given if he was still around. It is titled “The Perilous Mission,” however, the sermon is currently not found on Ludy’s website.

Richard Wurmbrand started the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. He was a pastor in Romania during the Russian Iron Curtain. He watched firsthand how the Communists invaded and took over the country and the churches before the persecution began. His most famous book is called Tortured for Christ, and recently a movie was made based on the book. It had just been released when Ludy preached the sermon I mentioned, and this summer, I bought the DVD and watched it. It only re-ignited this issue for me.

We do not understand what it means to suffer. Suffering is a critical doctrine for a Christian to understand to survive hard times, yet American Christianity has avoided it like the plague or intentionally speaks against it. Jesus told his disciples that there would be many troubles in this world. This was to a group of men who had already experienced hard times under Roman occupation. Jesus was saying this was nothing compared to what was to come. What happened? Imprisonment, beatings, riots, stoning, shipwrecks, robberies, homelessness, beheadings, crucifixions, banishment, impalement, dragging by horses, hanging, burning at the stake, being sawed in half, and countless other tortures that sinful, wicked men have devised. We don’t know what that means. We really don’t.

We tend to think we suffered this spring with the coronavirus lockdowns. We lost personal freedom. The entire nation was essentially put under house arrest. Freedom to go about and do what we wanted to do was gone. We have been forced to wear masks. Sports were eliminated. Movies were eliminated. Going to school was eliminated. Going to church was eliminated. Running your business was eliminated. For four months (or more depending on which state you live in), we have been suddenly removed of the way of life we were used to. It happened in an instant. While one could argue a massive conspiracy theory on behalf of the liberal left, who really shut down the country? God did, either directly or indirectly.

Many people whined that we were being persecuted because we were told we couldn’t go to church on Easter. Was it a violation of our First Amendment rights? Probably, in my opinion. Given the information we had at the time, I thought that there really weren’t many other options to consider. I now know that the left-leaning governors and local leaders were all too eager to get it going because it gave them instant power. I believe the lockdowns should not have happened at this point, but I can understand the thinking our elected leaders used to make said decisions.

That said, in all this, I have said all along that God is using the past four years of Trump’s administration to expose everyone for who they really are. The left is truly being exposed for who they are (especially with the nationwide riots). The “American Christian” is also being exposed. The most famous “Christian” leaders in the country are “Word of Faith” preachers some of whom think they can “blow away” coronavirus from their stages. They proved to be frauds. If the makers of “American Gospel: Christ Alone” didn’t make that documentary until today, they’d have a LOT more material to work with. That documentary is an exposé about the false teachings of God being there to provide the American with wealth, comfort, prosperity, health, etc., all with no hint of the teachings of suffering. I’ve always been put off by their greed and worship of self, but as this burden of preparing to suffer continues to weigh upon my shoulders, I have an even greater hatred for those teachings. Anyone who listens to them will not be ready by any means for what is about to come.

I want to make it clear that I am not advocating for giving up and letting the evil come and do its thing. We still must rise up and make a stand for what is right, loving justice, granting mercy, walking humbly with God. However, there’s only one thing that can remotely save us without intense persecution: nationwide repentance. Even then, I do believe the U.S. is past the point of redemption. A nationwide repentance could only delay the judgment due our country in a similar way that Josiah’s revival only lasted as long as he reigned before the bottom fell out.

We need to prepare ourselves to suffer. Start going without certain luxuries if you need to. The day will come when we may be denied things like heat, air conditioning, blankets, or clothes, let alone cars, internet, cell phones, TVs, fast food, etc. When I finished watching Tortured for Christ, on my way to fencing practice that afternoon, I was still processing the movie, and a thought came across my mind: “I may not make it through life, standing for truth as I am now, without being sent to prison for it.” I’m 37 years old, maybe about halfway through my life. I’m not going to stop defending the faith, calling out false teachings, and proclaiming Christ. I’m not at the point of boldness where I could be as Wurmbrand who would intentionally go into the Communist soldiers’ barracks to preach Christ, knowing he could be arrested that instant. Being bold on Facebook or an internet blog is one thing. But when face to face, it’s another issue. When your life and others’ lives are at risk for speaking the truth, it’s a whole separate issue.

There is one scene that stood out to me in this movie. It also one Ludy pointed out because his then 13-year-old son was with him to watch it. One of the pastors had been horrifically beaten and was chained to a wall. The Communists brought in the pastor’s son, only 12-14 years old at most, chained him up, stripped him, and then beat him to get the pastor to give the names and locations of other believers to be arrested too. The pastor gave in, but his son told him, “Don’t tell them anything. Don’t be a traitor. Keep preaching Jesus.” The son was beaten so badly that he died with his blood splatted all over the cell, all in front of his father. The father didn’t reveal the names, but he was never the same. Ludy singles out this scene because his son identified with that pastor’s son and saw himself potentially being put in that position.

Let me make this very clear. When this persecution hits, it won’t be just us affected. Our children will be, too, and not just in being potentially made orphans. Right now, I don’t have kids (God has not let that door open), but I am around kids all the time through coaching fencing and teaching. I have to consider what I would do if I were arrested, beaten, and then the guards bring in one of my students to torture in front of me until I talked. Would I be willing to let them go through hell to maintain my faith and my integrity and the lives of those not yet caught? Would that kid know me well enough and know my faith well enough that he or she could endure beatings, rapes, the searing of flesh, broken bones, ripped out nails, or even worse, and then encourage me not to speak? I’m dead serious that we need to be preparing how we would handle such situations. While I cannot know exactly what I would do until such a moment happens, I have to be getting myself ready to make that decision in advance. Because believe me on this: you cannot and will not make the decision to be loyal to Christ in prison, unless you’ve made that decision beforehand. You could still fail, but unless you decide in advance you will be loyal, you already failed and sealed the deal.

What I am describing here is “par for the course” for the Christian around the world throughout the last 2000 years, from the Apostles through today in the Islamic Middle East and the Communist Eastern Nations. That “great cloud of witnesses” the author of Hebrews tells us about are the ones who went through this stuff. And we complain about not attending our fancy brick buildings in groups on an Easter Sunday because of an overhyped plague, or things are too difficult because we lost a job. We don’t know a thing about suffering in this country. I fear we are about to face the real thing, and we won’t be ready for it. There will be no nominal Christians then. No more fakers at that point. Start preparing, and don’t count on a rapture to come save you before it happens because this may or may not be related to the end times.

I do want to end this post with a reminder that while this great suffering is likely fast coming our way, we Christians have something that no one else does: hope. We have hope for life eternal. We can take the hit, because we know there is more than this life to consider. Stay tuned for more on that in next week’s post.

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They Won’t Say “Black Lives Matter”?!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 4, 2020 5 comments

by Chad Koons

They won’t say “Black Lives Matter,” and frankly, neither will I. Now before you condemn me in some manner, take a few minutes to find out why.

Accusation and condemnation are out of control in our nation. BLM has itself become a source of divisive tendency, from an opportunity to a line drawn in the sand so to speak, with many using it as a filter to sift the good people from the bad. To the confusion and anger of many BLM supporters, there remain millions who refuse to declare it. Instead of immediately accusing these people of racism, should we not seek to understand their reasoning? What if they are right?

You may wonder why I even bring this up. If you haven’t noticed, it’s really awkward out here. Most people that I am in contact with are either confused or unconvinced about how to interact with the issue. Unsure of what to do, they either retreat, become silent, spout off in frustration, or just go with the flow. Black, White, Asian, Latino, and even people of varying faiths all seem to be having trouble processing where we should stand.

For my part, I will speak as a Christian. If you are a person of faith, you simply will not be able to align with everything that Black Lives Matter openly supports. And, as a person of faith, you should not feel ashamed for your decision to withhold support of this movement, assuming that your intent is pure, as your priority in all things is unto the Lord. To be candid, I know many black people who refuse to support BLM. Your refusal to participate does not equal racism.

Here is something that we fail to understand: adherence to a statement or a specific movement is not necessary to display one's support of Black Americans. We desperately need to recognize this, otherwise we may accuse without cause. Yes, it is possible to fully support God-given racial equality while not aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement, and we should not condemn one another over it.

Regarding the phrase itself, I find it lacking. Black lives do not merely matter, they very much more than “matter”! Being fearfully and wonderfully made, black lives are wondrous works of divine creation, worthy of every respect and opportunity the same as any other skin color. As part of humanity, they exist as the marvelous loved ones eligible for salvation and fullness in God! Indeed, the Lord considers all “races” of equal value! This is why I would take exception with “black lives matter” as a phrase, as it feels extraordinarily weak to me, at best woefully incomplete. It fails to carry the proper strength.

“Black Lives are Created in the Image of God.”
“Black Lives are Precious.”
How about “Black Lives are Infinitely Valuable”?
These phrases better carry the weight of holy creation and would be more appropriate. Are they not better descriptors?

Yet saying these would draw anger from BLM supporters. Why? Because that’s not what we’re supposed to say, it does not fit their narrative. You must name the movement. Get in, get out, or get run over. Become an echo or be targeted and accused. Do you see the problem?

Exchanging movement over message, has the organization become more important than the cause that they seek to champion? Their change only? It’s of little wonder why so many people are confused over where to stand regarding BLM. The exclusivity exhibited by the organization is palpable.

Perhaps I am calling out the fly in the ointment. Perhaps the ointment itself is tainted.

So, what’s our problem with BLM, specifically? Have a look at what the organization believes: here is BLM’s belief statement. If you are a Christian, you will immediately recognize the dangerous agenda therein. It is a Trojan Horse. You will see the mixing of good with evil. This is why millions of Christians, and those of other religions, cannot get behind Black Lives Matter. How Christians can in good conscience support this organization at all is a mystery to me.

Do we have an obligation to support BLM as the only vehicle for positive change? Are we to ignore the evil and hope that it somehow does good? Take that before the Lord and get back to me. Is there an answer to racism, oppression, and defeat? The only answer that I know of is fixing the family unit. If we look towards legislation change to save us, we look in the wrong place. Imagine if we put as much effort into prayer, Godly community, and family support as we put into these movements – what great and lasting change we could see! But will we do what it takes?

My point is that we need to think twice before trigger jerking our accusations against one another. Many of us will not support Black Lives Matter, and it is foolish to label, accuse, and condemn us because of it. Acceptance and understanding go both ways. Although we may not support the movement, the Godly among us will greatly support black lives. The Lord is up to something in this season, we must join in His work and refuse to accuse people along the way.

Here is my statement: Black Lives are Infinitely Valuable. I wonder, can we agree on that and work towards a better tomorrow? Love God and love people.

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Jesus' Disciples: Peter, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 3, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As we begin this series on Jesus’ disciples, here’s a fun fact for you: Peter’s name is mentioned 195 times in the New Testament – significantly more than any other disciple! The next closest is John with 29 mentions. We hear a lot about Peter’s life when reading through the gospels, and even elsewhere in the New Testament. Today we’re going to start looking at a handful of those mentions and why they were significant in Peter’s life, in the life of the church, and for discipleship, and we’ll follow up with more of them next week.

One of the personality traits that Peter is known for is his boldness and his willingness to go out on a limb. He is known for speaking his mind, often speaking without thinking first. Check out Matthew 14:22-33 for one bold event: Peter walked on water with Jesus. How many disciples did you see get out of the boat in that account? Only Peter. They were all afraid when they first saw Jesus walking on the lake – as you and I would be too, I’m sure! But once Jesus said who He was, Peter immediately wanted verification and then took part in this miracle of Jesus walking on top of the water.

This is even more significant when we consider the culture then. For us modern people, we see Jesus and Peter defying the law of gravity. But to them, it was an image of conquering chaos and death. The sea was considered to be evil and chaotic, often leading to death in the waves, and only God could control it. This situation happened after Jesus calmed the storm while He was in the boat with them, so the disciples already had some sense that Jesus was God because of His ability to calm the wind and the waves. But to see one of their own try walking on the chaos of the water? That takes some serious boldness!

What does this account mean for discipleship today? First, we see Peter needing proof that it really is Jesus, then we see him having an impulsive trust followed by doubt. How many of you have seen yourself follow that pattern? We question something then get our proof and go for it, only to realize we aren’t perfect and somehow fail at the task. But that’s what discipleship is all about – having the trust to let someone into your life, even if there’s the possibility you’ll fall into the chaos of life. Peter trusted that Jesus was there for him, and even when he doubted, Jesus still caught him. He will do the same for us, we just need to step out of the boat and trust Him.

For our next glimpse into Peter’s life, read Matthew 16:13-20. This is one of those times where we see Peter speak up first before the rest of the group of disciples. Jesus addresses them all collectively in verse 15 when He asks who they say He is, and it is only Peter who answers. Peter’s response is significant because it is a very clear confession of Jesus as God. Jesus normally referred to himself as the Son of Man, so for Peter to say that Jesus is the Son of God was a big leap to take. Jesus responds to this by blessing Peter because he got that knowledge from God, not from mankind. This passage is also Peter’s commissioning as a foundational pillar of the church. Jesus gives him the name of Peter (or Petros in Greek) which means rock. Jesus is giving authority to Peter and the rest of His disciples here to carry on His message.

We see here an example of what we should be if we consider ourselves to be disciples of Christ. We should be bold in confessing Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, just as Peter was. Peter recognized this and was willing to say it. We have the Bible to tell us so much information about who Jesus was and what He did, and it provides us with much more insight into Jesus’ character. We, like Peter, need to boldly confess who we follow. As disciples, we don’t follow some earthly teacher who seems to be a smart person; we follow the Son of the living God!

So even though Peter boldly confessed Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, we see in the very next verses that he still had some confusion about what Jesus really came to earth to do. Check out Matthew 16:21-28. We see by the phrase “from that time on” at the beginning of verse 21 that these two instances did not happen back to back as they are recorded by Matthew, but it is intriguing that they are placed right next to each other because of how Peter is portrayed.

Peter’s response to Jesus explaining what must happen to him can be interpreted in two different ways. First, it can be seen in the light of Peter’s personal love for Jesus. Wouldn’t any of us be horrified if a close friend or family member told us that they would have to die soon, and not only that but to suffer at the hands of the authorities? Second, Peter’s response can be seen as him misinterpreting what kind of Messiah Jesus really came to be. Peter didn’t put it together yet that Jesus had to suffer and die to fulfill all the prophecies made about Him in the Old Testament.

When Jesus tells Peter to get behind Him, He doesn’t just mean to physically stand behind Him. The position of a disciple was behind the rabbi (their teacher) – literally following the rabbi as he went about every single task of his day. A disciple does not lead the teacher nor even walk beside; a disciple follows behind. Through this statement, Jesus is calling Peter into deeper discipleship following Him.

But what about being called Satan? Peter the rock now suddenly is called Satan, the enemy. Peter’s attempt to deny the path that Jesus must follow makes him a stumbling block to Jesus; for that one moment, Peter is an enemy that Jesus has to contend with. It is reminiscent of when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness at the start of his earthly ministry. Satan tempted Jesus to do things the easy way, which is what Peter wants Jesus to do as well.

Jesus’ response to Peter is by telling him more about what it’s really like to be His disciple, as we see in verses 24-28. Jesus tells all of the disciples that they must really and truly follow Him – even all the way to His death on the cross. The Christian life is not one of conforming to the world and its ways, but instead one of losing our earthly desires in life for the sake of heavenly ones.

We see from Peter’s experiences here that being called to a life of discipleship means that we must confess Jesus Christ as our Messiah, the Son of God. We need to expect to be rebuked along the way when we make mistakes. We need to live life in community, truly being discipled and discipling others as Jesus did. Finally, we need to learn to deny our selfish desires to follow Jesus.

How are you like Peter, or not like Peter, in your faith? Are you boldly confessing Jesus in your life? Are you trying to follow Jesus in all His ways? As you go about your week, think about Peter and his bold faith and be encouraged to grow in boldness in your own faith. Check back next week for more about Peter’s life and discipleship.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.