“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
But he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’
Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” – Luke 22:31-34
Jesus is hours away from being betrayed, abandoned, and crucified. He is giving some of His last teaching and instruction before His greatest trial. In the midst of this, Jesus tells Peter he is about to deny Him three times.
During the Triumphal entry, this scene occurs when Jesus sees the city.
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” – Luke 19:41-44
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:21-33
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. It is an illustration of the gospel and the relationship that the gospel creates. While this will be focused on marriage, many of the truths will be applicable to everyone regardless of marital state.
Why do we have a hard time fully accepting the grace that is offered through Christ?
By “fully” I mean completely, from beginning to end. Similar to my previous devotion about trying to earn forgiveness and righteousness, we often try to do as much as we are capable of and then rely on God to cover the rest. Even if that means all we think we can do is 0.00001 percent of what is needed and rely on God for 99.99999 percent of the work. We still try to “do our part.”
There are two main incorrect approaches to forgiveness and getting right with God. Either, people try to clean themselves up as much as they can on their own and then go to God or they “accept” God’s forgiveness and then try to pay it all back. In both situations people are trying to earn the forgiveness and righteousness they receive.
How strange would it be if someone won millions of dollars in the lottery, more money than they could possibly ever earn through their job, and then before cashing in the ticket, they tried to save up as much money as possible to pay for it? If they first tried to pay off their student loans and credit card debt and whatever other debts they might have by their own work and then started to “earn” the money they won in the lottery. They could work their fingers to the bone and never make enough to “pay” for the lottery.
“In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Ephesians 4:26-27
The phrase “do not give the devil a foothold” is fairly common in Christian circles and for good reason. It is a powerful image that contains important truth for our lives.
“He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, ‘My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.’
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.” – Lamentations 3:16-20
The book of Lamentations is the prophet Jeremiah’s lament–an expression of mourning and grief–over the fall of Jerusalem. Through Jeremiah, the Lord prophesied the destruction that was to come upon Judah and Jerusalem because they had turned away from God. Jeremiah saw what was coming because of the sin of the people and then lived to experience the consequences.