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The Effect of Christ
The Effect of Christ on Peter, Judas, and Paul|
First we will consider Peter. Why he was called the rock and how he got to be the rock. As you know a rock can be a building stone, or a heavy burden. Peter was both. When Christ told the disciples he was to be killed, Peter said he would come to his aid and die for him. When the soldiers came and took Christ, the disciples were all bewildered and frightened. The alibi for not helping, probably was something like this; If I go in ,they will just kill me too, but if I hide I will be alive to carry on His work. This seemed logical until Peter heard the cock crow, and then he remembered he promised to go to the death with Christ.
If you read the account of the trial and if you understand law you must agree that Christ did get a fair trial under Pontius Pilate. Pilate had no choice but to sentence Him as prescribed by law. He was convicted BY DEFAULT. In a court today, the verdict would be the same. We still use this same Roman or common law. When you are accused of a crime you must answer the charge and present a defense or you are automatically guilty and the judge must sentence you as if you were guilty. So Christ's trial was fair, and if Peter had stood up and defended Christ as he promised it would of been possible for Pilate to find Christ innocent and free Him as he wanted to.
By telling Peter in advance of this it was impossible for him to justify his actions as the other disciples could. Since the only two courses open are justification or restitution Peter must now make a restitution to Christ, and there is no restitution for taking a man's life, So Peter is caught in the snare from which he can not escape. He must spend the rest of his life trying to make an atonement, which is impossible, but it is also impossible to stop trying without his conscience driving him crazy. Peter did spend the rest of his life trying. Because of this he was the hardest worker for Christ of the twelve disciples.
St. John 21;20-21 When John asked Christ who it was that betrayed him, 21 "Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 "Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." Peter is asking what he can do to make an atonement and Christ told Peter that if he tarries or stalls or does nothing, and leaves it to Christ ,what is that to thee, or what good did it do Peter for Christ to die. It is supposed to have an effect on Peter and everyone that feels guilty, so they will feel obligated to Christ and do as He instructs them.
This situation is referred to in other places as a snare. The profit Jeremiah puts it very well 48:43 "Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord. 44 He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it," The fear would be the guilt, the pit would be the devil's domain, the alibi or your justification; (THE SIN) Peter didn't get in the pit in this case because Christ took away his sin by taking away the possibility of justification, so to get free of his guilt he was caught in the snare. The snare being the position where he felt he had to make a restitution for what he had done. Peter will be in the snare, or be a slave to Christ for the rest of his life.
With Judas about the same thing happened. He made a deal with these priests or ministers to tell them where they could find Christ, and since these men later took his life, we will have to assume, they were not above lying. So they probably lied to Judas and told him, we would just like to find your master so we can talk to him. We won't hurt him, after all we are priests and honorable men, we don't do bad things.
At the last supper when Judas heard Christ mention a betrayal I suppose he assumed this couldn't be the deal he made, because he asked Christ, "Is it I." Christ said it was, so his feelings were hurt. He loved Christ and didn't mean to hurt him in any way. He couldn't imagine these priests or ministers plotting murder, so he assumed Christ was over suspicious, but after Christ was convicted, his justification didn't work any more. He blamed himself and the guilt was so heavy he couldn't bear it. He didn't ask what he could do like Peter did, he just killed himself.
With both of these men Christ removed the alibi in advance of the deed. Christ removed Paul's alibi after the deed. Saul or Paul was converted to Christ when Saul met Christ on the road to Damascus, and Christ said, "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." To understand this we must know why Saul hated Christ and why he worked so hard against Christ? You have heard the old saying, that the truth hurts, like if you call a fat person fatty, it's irritating to him. Saul was like this, he was irritated when he heard anything from Christ because his subconscious mind knew Christ was right and he wasn't ready to admit it. Whenever Christ said anything Paul would want to fight back. Every time he would do something against Christ or one of the disciples his conscience would bother him because he knew it was wrong in his subconscious mind. When Christ said it is hard for you to kick against the pricks, the pricks being the pricks of his conscience, he was kicking against his conscience by prosecuting the Christians and that made it worse. Paul's sin was to alibi or justify his actions by saying that Christ was wrong and that he, Paul was serving God. When Christ said this, he realized what he was doing to himself. Then he fell on the ground and his eyesight left him, and he was blind. It is no wonder it knocked his eyesight out, it is a wonder it didn't kill him. I can not believe that Saul was the type of man to miss an event like the hanging of Christ, so I conclude that he was the soldier that did the actual crucifixion itself. I think that is what Christ meant when he said I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Christ and Paul had another meeting where they talked directly to each other. They talked about that same prick again, only this time they referred to it as a thorn in the flesh that Paul was given. Paul said 2 Corinthians 12;8 "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. Christ said; My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." The word perfect means, complete or finished or something that has been perfected, not something without flaw, that is a fallacy! What Christ said is that he gets his Strength from Paul's weakness or the thorn in Paul's side. In other words the guilt that Paul has, makes Paul try to make an atonement for his guilt or make a restitution to Christ. But he has taken Christ's life and can not restore it, so the restitution is impossible and Christ has taken the justification away, so Paul will spend the rest of his life trying to make an atonement for this. He can't quit trying. Should Paul ever try to quit trying the guilt would drive him crazy like it did Judas. The guilt would be unbearable. Paul is a slave to Christ. This is where Christ gets his strength. This appears to me as a very nice thing; Christ has these slaves working for him, that he doesn't have to drive, they drive themselves to the limit, and they can't quit or run away. They could have used the services of the devil to justify their actions, but now this is not possible, because Christ has removed the devil or sin from them, and it is impossible for them to go back and follow the old way again.