A Non-Biblical Story About Jesus
March 25, 2009, 3:55 pm
Filed under: gospel, ministry

One part of Tim Keller’s Prodigal God that I found amusing as well as convicting was a non-biblical (as opposed to UN-biblical) story about Jesus and Peter that he shares :

Elisabeth Elliot recounts an apocryphal story (not in the Bible!) about Jesus that conveys the difference between a results-oriented selfishness and a faithfulness born out of love.

One day Jesus said to his disciplines : “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.”  He didn’t give any explanation.  So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find.  After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size!  So he put it in his pocket.  Jesus then said : “Follow Me.”  He led them on a journey.  About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down.  he waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread.  He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.”  In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over.  When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up.  He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.”  This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!”  So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger.  But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.”  Jesus then said : “Follow Me.”  He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up.  Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river.  He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.”  They did.  Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk.  Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded.  Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do?  Who were you carrying the stone for?” (pp.50-51)

The story reminds me that I must always ask myself with regards to my obedience, “For whom, REALLY, am I doing this?”  To live out the Gospel is far more difficult than simply living in a morally upright way.  Just think of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 13.  He writes that we have the capacity to give all we have to the poor and surrender our bodies to the flames…in such a way that lacks love.  In the Gospel, God is concerned not merely with the outward or the results, but with the heart.

For me, I have always had to examine my heart when it comes to preaching.  “For whom, REALLY, do I preach?”  Because there have been times during my preparation when I have found myself wanting to say things that are “impressive”.  There have been times when I have found myself worried and anxious about what people will think of me more than concerned about what people will think of God and His word.  And because of the desire to impress and because of the worry and anxiety, I prepare more.  To the naked eye, it might look like devotion.  But God has seen my heart in those times.

Sneaky sin.

All the more I am convinced that even the most righteous of my acts “are like filthy rags”.  And only when I am actively remembering, believing, applying, and experiencing the Gospel of God’s grace and love for me to my heart…being convinced of and conscious of His unshakable and incomparable acceptance of me in Christ despite my sin and in the face of any situation…will I be set free from the fear of man and the need to impress people, and I will be free to now use my energy to love.

God help me not to forget the Gospel.  God help me not to “assume” the Gospel.  Help me to remember it and apply it and treasure it and live in it daily.


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