Peter Finished the Sentence
Last weekend I presented a sermon based on something God had strongly impressed me with a few days previous. It was based on Hebrews 5:7-9 where it talks about how Jesus learned obedience through the things which He suffered and was made perfect as a result.
As I was studying that passage out carefully I was impressed with a parallel passage from Peter that in my estimation is the most potent and clear explanation of the real truth about the cross of Christ written anywhere. This emerging revelation about the cross has been progressively expanding in my mind over the past few years as I seek to find sense apart from all the nonsense that religion has taught about the cross that has confused so many. As the truth about this becomes more clear to me, I come under increasing conviction of my need to apply this truth to my own circumstances and relationships.
The day after I presented this to my church, our head elder told me a story about a man who had been arrested for trying to pay a large bill that he was contesting with a bag full of pennies. I won't go into the details except to say that as soon as I heard this story something deep inside of me came alive with rage. It was so deep and resonating that I knew it was tapping into a reservoir that I have known about for years and have been seeking healing for from God. It is a dangerous liability for me that is rooted in residual feelings from my growing up years that has never gone away but has just been repressed and controlled. But at times it leaks into the open like when I heard of this incident. Many feelings of intense bitterness about injustice suddenly surged up again inside of me.
Later as I was driving home that night, the story kept replaying in my head as the fuel from my anger kept it alive in my imagination. I found myself involuntarily imagining all sorts of hateful things I would like to see happen to those who perpetrated this gross injustice against an innocent man, things I won't go into detail about partly to prevent self-incrimination. I will just say that the sorts of scenarios that can quickly cross my mind when agitated in such a way are usually things that need repentance.
I chose to honestly face these feelings and scenarios that my flesh wanted to see happen, and I asked God what I should do with them. Instantly I received the response reminding me of what I had shared with my church just the day before. Suddenly it started becoming clear to me how I need to apply what I am learning with my head to my own experience related to my own wounded heart. So many things from the past few years that God has been teaching me and I have been sharing with others – things like forgiveness, the real truth of what happened at the cross and how to relate to offenses all came to my attention clearly showing me how to practically follow the example of Jesus that I had just emphasized in my sermon. I need to let these intense feelings go by trusting God myself with every situation, whether it be injustice happening to me or done to others.
What is now becoming clear in this revelation from Peter is the how part of letting these things go. I am beginning to see better that Jesus didn't simply grit His teeth and force Himself to not retaliate or seek revenge when suffering injustice. No, He followed the formula that is shared by James by first submitting Himself to God which then empowered Him to resist the devil.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NRSV)
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. (James 1:19-20 NRSV)
This morning when I meditated on the thoughts from Oswald Chambers for today, as is often the case the passage was extremely timely and relevant. What suddenly caught my attention was how much the text for this day resonated with what I have been focused on over the past few days. Then as I perused over a number of versions I was struck with the fact that from heaven's perspective Peter in essence complimented what John wrote possibly without even realizing it. When I place the two passages together it is as if Peter finishes the sentence that John started making the thought complete. And what comes clear is just what God had impressed me I must do if I am to become free and be healed from these triggers of rage over acts of injustice.
But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25 NKJV)
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Peter 2:23 NKJV)
But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men, and because he had no need that any man should testify about man, for he himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25 ACV)
Who, being reviled, did not revile in return. Suffering, he did not threaten, but yielded to him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:23 ACV)
But Jesus did not have faith in them, because he had knowledge of them all. He had no need for any witness about man; for he himself had knowledge of what was in man. (John 2:24-25 BBE)
To sharp words he gave no sharp answer; when he was undergoing pain, no angry word came from his lips; but he put himself into the hands of the judge of righteousness: (1 Peter 2:23 BBE)
But Jesus knew what was in their hearts, and he would not let them have power over him. No one had to tell him what people were like. He already knew. (John 2:24-25 CEV)
Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly. (1 Peter 2:23 CEV)
But Jesus did not trust them, because he knew how all people think. He did not need anyone to tell him what a person was like. He already knew. (John 2:24-25 ERV)
People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly. (1 Peter 2:23 ERV)
But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all about people. He didn’t need anyone to tell him about human nature for he knew the way people think. (John 2:24-25 FBV)
and when he was badly treated, he didn’t retaliate. When he suffered, he didn’t threaten to take revenge. He simply placed himself in the hands of the one who always judges rightly. (1 Peter 2:23 FBV)
Jesus, however, was wary of these believers. He understood people and didn't need anyone to tell him about human nature. He knew what people were really like. (John 2:24-25 GW)
Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn't make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly. (1 Peter 2:23 GW)
Jesus did not commit Himself unto them … for He knew what was in man. John 2:24–25 .
Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.
The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way—if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being what he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone. (My Utmost 7-30)