Our keeping Savior

by Mark Lauterbach

I have been thinking on Jesus present ministry at God’s right hand.   Sad to say, I have almost completely neglected this theme in all my years as a Christian.   Reading Hebrews has helped me see that the Gospel is about the PERSON and WORK of Christ — and the fruit of his death is his exaltation as the God-man, Savior, Messiah, and Lord.   My Savior stands at God’s right hand for me.   But what does that mean?

In Luke 22, there is a wonderful picture of the intercession of Jesus.   It is just after the Last Supper and Jesus has mediated a conflict over who is the greatest.   Then he turns to Peter and says:

Luke 22:31-34    31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,   32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”   33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”   34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Here we find the intercession of Jesus for his own. Look at how he is about to suffer and die for us — but his mind is devoted to his disciples.   He is not self-focused, he is serving.   His eye is upon us.   We have his full attention.

Note, first, that Jesus is engaged with issues invisible to Peter. There is a transaction between Satan and Jesus that has gone on.   And Peter is unaware of the deceit of his own sin — he thinks he is courageous and loyal.   In both cases we find the first element of the Savior’s eye upon his own — he sees dangers we are unaware of.   He does not expect us to see them.   We are stupid of heart.   But he keeps us as he sees them.

This means that at the end of life’s journey I will look back on the path I walked.   I will see the five or ten enemies I killed with the sword of the Spirit — and there will be ten thousand more my savior killed without my being aware of them.

Second, Jesus prays for Peter — NOT that he not be tested, but that his faith not fail.   To be sifted as wheat does not sound like a day at the spa.   It means being crushed and beaten.   But Jesus is no sentimentalist.   He knows what is good for our souls and such crushing is good for us.   he wants us holy and such sifting is part of that process.

Third, God hears his prayer.   Peter sins and repents.   He runs to the Savior with his sin.   Judas sins and falls into remorse.   He kills himself.   Judas sin is not worse.   His repentance is lacking.   Jesus kept his own — Peter.   Left to ourselves, we would all be Judas.

Fourth, Jesus advocates for Peter. He is forgiven.   More than that he is restored and he becomes more useful after the stinging pain of failure.

Here is the intercession of Jesus.   He sees all our dangers.   He keeps us in them and through them.   He forgives the sin we commit in them.   He takes the sin and uses it for good and his glory.

 

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