After 3 and ½ years of the most amazing ministry in the history of the world, Jesus of Nazareth is seized, lied about, physically abused, blindfolded and spit upon, and they were saying to Jesus, “Prophesy…tell who hit you.” And for the first time the gifts weren’t flowing and Jesus is silent in the hour of persecution.
The thing that most worries me about this generation is what we will do when nothing is working? What will we do if the economy tanks, no jobs, and the Church is being persecuted? Everything is great when God is moving, but what would happen if Jesus became silent in the hour of persecution? We get in the move of God just like Peter did. While everything is going good we say things like, “Jesus you can take it all, take it all, just give me Jesus.” But what happens when He takes it all. We sing, “He gives and takes away,” …but can we still say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”? Peter said, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Jesus then says, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Peter’s response, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” I have found that before you come into the hour of trial and testing the Lord will never take you through it without first giving you two things.
- Instructions/Warning 2. Promise
In John 13, Jesus describes to the disciples that He will first be betrayed, then in John 13:19 Jesus says, “Now I tell you before it comes to pass, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.” In John 14:29-30 Jesus again says, “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” God will always give you a word or promise that will sustain you to the other side. This is how we make it through the time of trial. Hold onto the things God gave you before the trial! He is faithful! Jesus will instruct/warn us before the trial that it is coming…and He will give you a promise that will come afterwards. (John 14-16) But the thing that makes or breaks us is what we do in the middle of the trial. The very first thing Jesus did as the hour of trial came upon them was take them to Gethsemane, the place of the press. The most important thing He says to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane was, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Now let’s go back to Peter! Peter your spirit is willing, but you’re about to see how weak you are in the flesh! Throughout this hour of trial, Peter still follows Jesus at a distance…but denies Him the third time. He hears the cock crow, and Mark 14:72 says, “Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to Him (before the trial), ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept.” For the first time in three and a half years, Peter gets in touch with his humanity again and realizes, “I’m just a man.” You need to understand something about God, when you set your heart to follow Him; He strategically takes you through places to make you ready for the promise.
Psalm 84:5-6 says, “Blessed is the man who strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6As they pass through the Valley of Baca(Weeping), They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.” In others words God will take you through a time of weeping and turn it into a life-giving source! God will take us through the hour of trial, temptation, persecution, wilderness, and the valley of weeping to posture us in humility for His eternal purpose. Here is the reason. You will never hunger for the promise of the fullness of Christ until you realize your emptiness in Adam. He allows the weeping to produce a deep repentance, the repentance produces dependence, the dependence produces a hunger, and the hunger produces the filling. (Matthew 5:6) So what happens between the hunger and the fill, and nothing is working! What do we do when nothing works? We wait! What does the word wait mean in the word of God? Jesus tells His disciples in Acts 1:4, “…wait for the promise…” Wait – is the word (pe-re-me-no) which comes from two words in Greek, which means to “to abide, to tarry, to continue to be present, to last, and endure. In other words, you keep praying until you see the promise come to past. Hebrews 6:12 says, “Don’t become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” There were 500 at the big ascension service, but only 120 waited on the promise. Those who wait it out, get the promise. Here is my last point. Prayer is what will sustain us through the trial. The promise will turn the situation around despite what the test messed up. Hold on to the promise!