Jesus’ Look of Mercy

Dietmar Joosten

We are thankful to God for the work He is doing. May this gospel cover the country, the continent and the world. God never works in the way we expect. We always imagine how things should be, but God uses something totally different. The revival started through a child who asked to pray. May we not be too big to understand that God is at work.

There is so much that God wants to do. Do not throw away the privilege. If God chooses you to preach the gospel, do it with all your heart. Serve the Lord and leave aside all the petty little sins. We read about people in history whom God used and maybe He wants to use you. Christians often have their own ideas of preaching but start with the basics and do what is right. God will help you with the rest.

Today we will talk about Peter. Peter was put through the mill and cleansed by God. He bowed - which is the wonderful part. Learn to bow from a young age otherwise difficult things happen to you and the people around you. If you do not bow, you later have a strong will and a hard head. You make life difficult if you never learned to bow as a child. If you learned to bow as a child and do what you have been told, you will see the difference later in life.

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:54-62

This story touched my heart and there is so much in this text. The mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ is great. Christ is the answer, Christ is the way. Christ can deliver you, no one else - not yourself, not your own piety – only Christ when you come to Him. We must listen to what Christ says to us.

What was Peter doing there? He thought he was doing a good deed. Peter had just cut off the ear of the servant, and now he found the time and the nerve to sit there, knowing he had done wrong. He made great mistakes, but he loved the Lord heart and soul. There was no one that the Lord had to help like Peter. He had to mould His image in this man. Peter obeyed.

Friends, if we want to know Christ, it will not be an easy road. He will put us through the mill. If you have never been through the mill, I doubt you have ever known Him. We find fault with situations and things that happen around us but that is the Lord working on us. You cannot go to heaven in the state you are. You will not enter heaven with a hard head that cannot listen to your husband. You must learn to bow and to know when to remain silent - but you will not enter heaven with a stubborn head.

Peter had to learn while the Lord moulded his life. The Lord treated Peter in the same way He treated others. The Lord loved Peter’s heart because he saw that Peter was genuine in what he wanted to do. If God disciplines you, do not harden your heart, do not be stubborn. Do not lose heart, do not lose hope, do not say that you are not loved. It is just the opposite, Jesus loves you. If He allowed you to do as you like you would land in a dark forest.

I am speaking about things I know and have experienced. When the Lord no longer puts you through His mill, ask the Lord whether He loves you. You need to search your heart on this side of death.

Peter was determined to follow the Lord - which is why he found himself in this place. Maybe the Lord still had to deal with things in his life. The Lord allowed it to happen. Should he have been there? Peter kept a distance. Why did the Bible say that? Was there a distance between him and the Lord and the Lord still wanted him closer?

When I was a young boy, I saw something at home which I have never forgotten. There was a duck with little ducklings and a fence. The ducks walked up and down the fence wanting to get through. The mother went through the opening in the fence and the ducklings that were close to her followed her through the opening. There were other ducklings a distance from the mother who could not find the hole the mother had gone through. I helped them to find that hole and go to the other side. That was a lesson to me. If you do not follow the Lord closely, you will find yourself on the side, not knowing where to go because you are confused and it becomes something you do not understand. Why? You are at a distance. Ask yourself while you are in the service, where do I stand?

Peter sat at a fire with others and he warmed himself here. It is dangerous if we start our own little fires, warm ourselves and marvel at the fire that we have made. The glow warms you. When you sit at your own fire and in your own glow, you think this is wonderful. You honour yourself; you see your own significance. It is your own fire that you have started. You feel honoured and important. You are sitting at a burning fire and you think it is the Lord’s fire but it is your imagination.

Peter must have been cold and he thought it was a good place to be. Peter, you sit at the fire, while the Lord is being judged and tortured and are surrounded by the enemies of the gospel. The good thing was that they recognised him. That could have been his saving grace. They saw someone who was with Jesus and he was not like them. A little girl started it. You cannot hide, wherever you go. People will recognise you even in the most unexpected places.

Rev Stegen taught us that we should not go alone wherever we go. You might be seen at a certain place and people see you and ask questions. People speak and put things together that do not exist. Do not go alone. The Lord Jesus always sent his disciples out two by two. In the Talmud even men were not allowed to travel alone but Peter went alone. If he had been with someone else it might have been different. Two are better than one. There are things in life which are not laws as such, but they are helpful when serving the Lord. You help yourself and others. Had Peter been with someone else, that person might have nudged him and urged him to go but Peter did not even see. He did not know how grave his sin was.

Peter was a man who had just sliced off someone’s ear but a little girl makes him stumble. If you put your life in the way of temptation, you have no idea what the end will be.. Peter denied Jesus three times.

Peter did not seem to grasp the gravity of his deed. When you think you can do it yourself, when you think you are strong enough, be very careful, you are on slippery ground. Martin Luther experienced many attacks but when he was alone, they were worse. If there are two or more people, it changes things. Even if you are convinced that you are right, the other person can caution you to wait and consider. (The danger is that God puts something on your heart and the other person puts the brakes on with questions like did you pray, is it really God’s voice? You need discernment and you need to hear the will of Christ.)

Peter did not only deny the Lord, he also lied. Where was his conscience to tell him that he was lying? He was lying when he said he did not know the Lord. The strangers said that the way he spoke betrayed him. His speech showed them who he was. What would have happened if Peter had stood up and left and admitted that he had made a mistake. In another place, it says that he stayed there for over an hour. Peter must have trusted himself and that is why the Lord put him through these things. He was self-reliant. He knew who he was. He was just like you are, you who always know better. You say that you know this way. You have been a believer for so long. When you try and speak to such a person, he says that he knows. Some thank you for your help, but you can sense it is not accepted.

The Lord loved Peter but there were things he needed to change in his life. He could not use Peter as he was.

That's often how temptation works. You think you can. You think everything will be alright. If you go, the high priest - the Lord - will be with me, but temptation comes at the most unexpected time. If you are not alert you will find yourself in a trap. That is why the Lord teaches us to pray before we do anything. That is why we need His Spirit to lead and guide us every day.

Friends, Peter was a different man when the Holy Spirit got hold of his life. Until then, Jesus could not use him as he was. It is interesting to note how God deals with a person's life. This man needed special attention and the Lord gave it to him. Are you prepared to listen and bow?

Peter never knew the grave danger he was in. He had not planned it but this is what temptation is like. The Lord taught us to pray and say, ‘Lord, help us and keep us from being led into temptation.’ We often slip if we find that we were not diligent and we do not adhere to what we were taught.

John Bunyan was sorely pressed. He was the author of Pilgrim’s Progress; it was his life’s work. He learned to pray. He prayed and asked God to keep him.

You should understand the tactics of the evil one and grow in your understanding of how he attacks and what his plans are. Do not walk blindly. Open your heart and mind. Pray, and you will quickly learn the devil’s tactics. He is a master at bringing in distractions from the side. When you have set a goal, he brings in things from the sideline. This distracts you and you end up in places you should not be at.

Judas planned his deed. He knew what he was doing. How often did the Lord warn him, ‘Judas, don’t do that,’ but Judas ignored it. Maybe he did not want to understand. For how long have you been in your sin, planning shameful things? You go in the devil’s dark way and, you know what you are doing. Judas was hard and Jesus left him. Do not be amazed if Jesus leaves you because you have become very hard too. Leave your ways of sin. It is painful if we continue doing what is wrong. It is dangerous, serious and painful if you continue in your way of sin. When the Lord speaks to you, stop! The way you conduct yourself is impure – in the bathroom, in the bedroom but you continue. It is a dangerous thing to do. Judas reached the point where he had no hope and ended his life. He chose his way. Peter was different. He stopped. We do not hear that he did the same thing again. Are you confessing the same thing repeatedly?

61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

The Lord was being judged. They spat at him and hit and tortured him, but in spite of this all, the Lord remembered Peter, this poor soul. The Lord turned and looked at Peter with eyes of pity. Those eyes struck Peter and he recalled the Lord's words.

That touched him. The Lord remembered this poor soul although he was struck and bleeding. When he passed Peter he looked at him. Those eyes of pity struck Peter and suddenly he remembered.

62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

You might continue with your life, stumbling from one thing to the other. Have you ever met up with the eyes of Christ? Jesus had warned Peter about the cock that would crow. But when his eyes met those of the Lord’s his eyes were opened to what he was doing. Why didn’t he do it the first time he denied the Lord and lied? When he saw the Lord, he was heartbroken. The Lord heard those utterances - although there was such a commotion around him, He heard Peter’s cry. Think of God's wonderful ways. The Lord passed him at that moment and suddenly Peter remembered that the Lord had warned him.

The Psalmist often says that we are like beasts before God. Peter was more degraded than the cock. He used an animal to wake Peter up and warn him. Maybe you have said many things in the bedroom about others, you have tied your own knots, and the Lord hears it all. If the Lord would have stood close to Peter, I doubt Peter would have done it, but he felt that the Lord was not with him at that moment.

When you sin and are tempted, imagine the Lord standing next to you and watching what you are saying and thinking. Wouldn’t that change your life and your attitude? That look of Christ tore away the veil that covered Peter’s eyes. The Bible often speaks about the eye of the Lord upon you that will lead and guide you. His eye runs to and fro looking for a person he can use. That eye can be your conscience that tells you what to do: don’t go with those friends, they will lead you into evil. Where is your conscience? It is the eye of God in your heart. That conscience guides you as to how to live your life. When you meet the eyes of the living Christ, He will change your life, without a doubt. If your life has not changed, do you really know this Christ? Have you ever met these eyes? Do you understand what those eyes mean? Do you know this man who looks at you. He says look at me. You know so much, but do you know this man? When Jesus looks at you, you cannot be the same. Your will will change. Jesus makes everything new.

Jesus took time with this man, Peter. Jesus takes us through a process. He worked in Peter’s life. Never think he has achieved it. You will be surprised at what can still be done in your life. He allows things to happen; He allows circumstances; He allows people to say things and you get offended. Forget the person - what has Christ said to you? Christ deals with our lives. If we cannot bow at a certain point, He will come back to that point and ask you about where you fell. He will challenge you to start there again. If you bow, what grace!

A strong light is used to shine on a skin disease to clear it up and remove it. It must be a special lamp. Those eyes of Christ are special. That leprosy and sin will stop if that light shines on that sin. Spend time with Christ and speak to Him - even if you are a small child. Samuel spoke to God when he was small. Let his light shine on your life and let his eyes gaze on that leprosy and allow his eyes to remove it.

When last did you feel that Christ looked at your life and you knew he was saying that this and that is wrong. Christ died to save us to the uttermost. Why are you struggling, why are you not getting up? Cry to the Lord that he will remove the veil from your eyes to see as Peter saw. When Peter saw His eyes, he went out and wept bitterly. He recognised his mistake. He did not argue or find excuses. Don't have excuses when you find yourself in the wrong place, just admit and say you were wrong and may you never do that again. Peter had such remorse and sorrow. Do you know what it means to cry and ask the Lord to change your life?

Remember they recognised Peter by his voice. When people listen to what you say and how you state things, your own talk will betray who you are. The way you speak and act is an eye opener. Your parents recognise what is going on. You will never conquer sin if there is confession but no remorse. Peter was sorry for what he did. Are you really sorry? Do you mean what you say? Do you just confess to appease your conscience? Peter wept bitterly. He was remorseful. When last have you felt deep remorse? You feel nothing. You polish the matter. Judas did the same. If there is genuine repentance and sorrow, people will see it. If the Lord is there you will have victory over things in your life and you will not repeat the same things. If you are like Peter, the Lord will change your life.

Romans 8 refers to the law of the spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, the law of our new being has freed me from the law of sin and death. Christ came to set us free, that's the key. That's the answer. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to control our lives. Do you listen to the Holy Spirit? Can you hear His voice? What does your conscience say about your life? If Christ changes your life, people will see it clearly. You do not need to say much. The fruit will be clear. If you do not believe the truth, you start believing the lie. You will believe all the lies of the world – whatever it says - you can even choose what gender you want to be. Believing that is believing the lie. Believe the truth of the Bible, lest you believe the lies of the world.

There will be godly sorrow when you meet His loving, caring, judgemental eye. Your life can never be the same again. If you meet that Christ, He will give you victory in your life. If you listen to Him when He speaks and tells you not to go there, keep away from that shop. If you listen to him, He will keep you and you will have victory.

The Bible says Peter wept. It must have been a very difficult time for him. We often create our own difficulties by going our own ways, seeing things the way we want to and creating our own fires. It is often so unnecessary. Learn to listen to instruction. If you are 60 or 80 years old, learn to listen. If you listen to instruction, it will keep you from much evil and harm - especially if the Lord speaks to you.

He cried. He could not stop because of what he experienced when he saw Christ. Those little streams that ran down his cheeks brought about streams of living water. When last did you cry for help from the Lord? Don't be surprised that when you cry, seek and repent with all your heart, that things will bubble up in your life which you never thought God could do.

When last did you look into Jesus' eyes? When last did your eyes meet? If you meet His gaze, things will change. Seek the Lord so that He can speak to you through something in the Bible or through someone else speaking to you. It is important that this Christ lives in your heart and mine. Make room for Him. Allow Him to help and instruct you. Allow Him to lead you in ways everlasting - otherwise you will be in the company of gossipers, cell phones, the world.

May we meet the Lord anew. Can you say I have seen the Lord and He has spoken to me? You do not need to see a vision; you just need to hear His voice in your heart.

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