Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where are the gates of hell?

I stumbled upon a rather disturbing insight this morning. In Matthew 16, after Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus speaks the encouraging words that "the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church." But then just a few verses later, Jesus speaks to Peter again. This time, after Peter tried to tell Him that He would not suffer and die, Jesus says to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are a hindrance to Me." Ouch!! It seems to me that when Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail, He presents the gates of hell as a possible HINDRANCE to the progress of the Gospel...and then He tells Peter that he has become a HINDRANCE by not setting his mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. It's not too much of a jump to connect the two conversations. How often do we in the church act as the very gates of hell by getting in the way of the progress of the Gospel? When we refuse to deny ourselves and fail to take up our cross daily as we seek to follow Christ, we set up HINDRANCES to the Gospel. Poor Peter! He always seems to be an object lesson...yet he always seems to expose us as being just like him! Have mercy on us, O Lord!

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