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Pointers along the way #217

Unexpected twists
- Jacob Ninan

We know how Peter asserted confidently before Jesus how he would never leave Him even if everyone else did (Mt.26:33). He declared that he was even willing to die for Jesus (v.35). He was not boasting, but he meant it sincerely. We see that even when all the other disciples left Jesus and went away, Peter followed Him around, even though at a distance (v.56,58). When soldiers came to capture Jesus, Peter took out his sword and attacked, demonstrating his desire to protect his Master at the risk of losing his own life (Jn.18:10). Then came the unexpected twist to the story. A servant girl confronted him about his association with Jesus, and Peter made the first of his three denials (Mt.26:69,70).

What could have happened? Perhaps he was preparing himself in his mind about what all he could do to save Jesus and was not expecting this turn of events. It took him by surprise, and he may have reacted in his normal impulse of self-preservation.

We know also about David, the psalmist of Israel who knew the Lord intimately even from childhood, who became the young man who did exploits through faith. Now he was king and his mind was occupied with matters of kingdoms which were fighting with Israel. One afternoon he took a walk on his terrace, thinking about the things that were pressing his mind. Suddenly he saw a woman bathing, his feelings got aroused, and he fell into adultery. Can't we assume that David would not have done such a thing in the normal course of his life? But this was an unexpected twist.

If we have any experience with life, we know that life has many unexpected turns for which we are not prepared. Many times we are caught in a tresspass because the temptation catches us off guard. Isn't there a way around this, so that we don't have to fall?

The answer is from Jesus Himself who has the distinction of not having fallen even once even though Satan tried all his tricks to trap Jesus. Jesus said that we need to watch and pray in order to avoid falling into temptation (Mt.26:41). We have to be on the alert at all times (Ep.6:18) because the devil is waiting around the corner to catch us (1Pe.5:8). We are not careful all the time, are we? When things are peaceful we assume that it is going to continue like that! We may even think that now finally the time of God's favour has come and we are safe! But God warns us saying that we have to be all the more careful at such times (1Co.10:12).

The other thing is to pray. Prayer is an acknowledgment of weakness and need. We recognise that however clever we are, we are no match for Satan who is most brilliant and who has been studying and deceiving people for thousands of years. We cannot outsmart him or anticipate what he will do. The only way we can be safe is by depending on God to be our Protector. Even if our heart were entirely right, which we can't be sure of always, our flesh is weak. That is why Jesus has told us to pray (Mt.26:41).