A Prayer about the Ultimate Oxymoron and Jesus’ Kindness

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matt. 16:22

     Dear Lord Jesus, everywhere I look in the Bible I see your kindness constantly at work, leading us to deeper repentance. You are so patient and forbearing with us, as you show just how much we need your grace. This interchange with the Apostle Peter is a classic example.
     If an oxymoron is putting two words together that just don’t belong together—one which contradicts the other, like deafening silence, jumbo shrimp, planned spontaneity, or peace offensive—then the ultimate oxymoron is “Never, Lord!” Those two words just don’t belong together. First of all, I cannot imagine Peter’s audacity in “taking you aside to rebuke you”; and then, on top of that, to combine these two words in one sentence, “Never, Lord.”
     Yet, like Peter, I do the very same thing, not as directly, but just as surely. For instance, when you tell me that my need of salvation is so great—that I’m so sinful and broken that only the gospel of God’s grace can save someone like me—and yet I persist in trying to merit the righteousness of God or at least “supplement” what you’ve done for me on the cross, I pull you aside, rebuke you, and say, “Never, Lord! You haven’t done quite enough for me. The gospel is great but…”
     When you assure me that your grace will be sufficient for me and that …

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