8月25日靈修禱文|DEVOTION

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

Luke 22:31-32

Thought

These verses recorded Jesus' words to Peter. When Luke wrote the passage, he was in fact speaking to all the believers, stressing the point "when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." The term "strengthen" clearly has the meaning of "enabling brothers to hold fast to the faith, and how to stand firm so as not to fail." Let's consider: the passage was written in the latter half of the 1st century. How did the church comprehend Jesus' encouragement to Peter? Leaders of early church in the 1st century were attached and would probably be arrested. Their followers were scattered due to persecution. It is also said in the Bible: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." (Mark 14:27) The writer told the church to discern Satan's schemes. He encouraged the church to guard their way, lest Satan might sift them away. Apart from stabilizing the faith of the congregation, the writer's passage clearly and emphatically served the purpose of mutual encouragement. We still remember that after Jesus' resurrection, upon having had breakfast one morning, he asked Simon Peter, son of John, "Do you love me more than these?" After Peter had replied to the Lord's questions, Lord Jesus entrusted him thrice: "Feed my sheep ...." People of the church knew that Peter boasted before the Lord that he would certainly not deny him even going to death with him! I believe what the believers at the end of the 1st century faced was even worse than Peter's. It was foretold here that Peter would feed the sheep of the Lord. The whole Church kept this in mind firmly. It's inevitable for everyone to experience weaknesses and failures, but Jesus' words are encouraging: "when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Our church badly needs mutual encouragement and care.

Prayer

O Lord, in you is our trust. When we are weak and when we meet trials of various kinds, may you have mercy on us and teach us how to keep the faith and courage, so as to overcome all difficulties. O Lord! We also long to be conquerors through you, and to share our experience with, and even strengthen, our brothers. Amen.
Rev. Eddie Chu

主又說:「西門,西門!撒但要得著你們,好篩你們像篩麥子一樣;但我已經為你祈求,使你不至於失了信心。你回頭以後,要堅固你的弟兄。

路加福音 22:31-32

思想

以上這節經文記錄了耶穌對彼得所講的話,路加寫這段話期間,其實是對教會眾信徒說的,重點就在「你回頭以後,堅固你的弟兄。」 堅固一詞清楚帶有使弟兄固守信仰;怎樣堅固而不至跌倒?試想這番話,寫於第一世紀份中後期,教會群體怎樣理解耶穌如何勉勵彼得? 第一世紀㓜教會,領導者面臨被捉拿,受攻擊,他的跟隨者因逼迫而四散,經上也這樣說『我要擊打牧人,羊就分散了。』(可十四27) 在福音書書寫當時,作者向教會會眾辨識撒但的詭計,除了勉勵他們謹守自己不被撒但篩走,穩定群體的信心外,明顯亦有強烈的互勉作用。還記得耶穌復活後,一次,剛吃完早飯,祂問彼得說,約翰的兒子西門:「你愛我比這些更深麼?」彼得回答主的問話之後,主耶穌三次授命他:「你牧養我的羊…」。 教會眾人都知道,彼得曾向主大膽自誇,就算與主同死也斷不會不認主!相信第一世紀末信徒所面臨的,跟彼得當時的景況更加惡劣, 此言,預示彼得要牧養主的羊,其實教會眾人銘記於心。對每個人來說,經歷軟弱或失敗實屬無可避免,但耶穌的話卻令人鼓舞,「你回頭以後,要堅固你的弟兄」,教會極需要我們互相激勵,彼此關顧。

禱告

主啊:你是我們的倚靠,當我們軟弱和落在百般試煉中,求主施憐憫,教導我們,如何存信心和勇氣,克服一切困難。主啊!我們亦渴望靠袮得勝,藉著一點點體會,與弟兄分享,甚至堅固我們的弟兄,阿們。
朱裕文 牧師
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