They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. Mark 14, verses 53-54.
Does Jesus do your heavy lifting? If we warm ourselves by the fire in the middle of the cold night, are we really being warmed inside or is it just a half-measure to ward off the hostile cold?
I’ll be honest: Jesus does ALL the heavy lifting. He does it for me and for you; He does it because of His grace and not because we deserve it or earn it or anything the preacher says to do. Everything that was ever needed to make me right with the Holy Father of the Trinity was done by Jesus. Even my choosing to believe in this isn’t my action alone; I couldn’t even believe if Jesus’ Holy Spirit hadn’t first inspired and enabled me to do it.
So I just live my life, sinning from day to do. Some days it’s petty things like a white lie or living in advantage of His blessings. Some days it’s an outright big one, like rage or adultery in my thoughts or grudges or any one of a hundred things that separate me from my Lord. In those times, He reminds me again and again that He forgave all of my sins, that I have no penalty from the Father for them even though they deserve eternal damnation. He reminds me that I don’t need to do these stupid things, that I don’t need to hold onto guilt, that I’m His. If you don’t think that’s heavy lifting, try reminding an addict that he has the power to give up his addiction if only he’ll take the gigantic small step of starting to trust. Jesus does that a thousand times a day for the addict sinner known as me.
And through it all, what do I do? I warm myself by the fire. I join in with Peter and the other curiosity seekers who won’t actually go stand beside Jesus and fight for Him (or even show solidarity with Him). No, I’m there trying to keep my hands and face warm in the chilly morning air. It’s cold out here and I am more concerned with thinking I can ward off the cold than with being true to my heart. I’m one of the folks joining in with the very guards who arrested Jesus and brought all this into being. You and I can judge Peter for being a coward, for these moments when he actively, enthusiastically denied knowing his best friend and Savior, the man he told (in more friendly and comfortable circumstances) “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” “I’d never do that, Dave,” you say. “I just wouldn’t.”
Yes you would. So do I. I do it with every rebellious thought that rushes through my sin-encrusted mind.
Know what Jesus does? He does the heavy lifting. He does the hard work of making those rebellious thoughts and actions into vapors of the past. He does it with offering me the blood on the cross. It’s a free offer, no guilt-motivation involved. It’s the only thing that can really, truly keep me out of the cold emptiness of oblivion.
Lord, thank You for doing all the heavy lifting of forgiving sins.
Read Mark 14, verses 53-65.