Today I thought that I would share with y’all what I’ve been learning in God’s Word during my quiet time recently. And before I share, I just want to encourage you to spend some time alone with God today. If you haven’t been setting aside some special time to spend with God, I encourage you to start setting aside even just a few moments to spend with Him in the Word and in prayer. THESE MOMENTS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
And without further adieu, here is what I’ve been learning during these moments:
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
-Mark 14:66-72 (NIV)
As I’ve been reading through the Gospels during the last few weeks, one passage stood out to me specifically: Peter’s Denial. His denial is recorded four times in the Bible, so there must be something to learn here. Reading this passage can cause us to shake our heads at Peter. We might look down on him for these denials and tell ourselves that if we had been in his shoes, we would never have denied our Savior. We also might wonder how someone who walked with Jesus could have denied him. And I have to be honest, all of these thoughts have popped into my mind while reading this passage at one point or another.
Yet there is a very important lesson that I have learned from Peter’s denials.
I am Peter.
No, I’m not saying that I have experienced anywhere near as much persecution as Peter did. What I’m saying is that, like Peter, I am in need of grace.
We have all denied Jesus at some point or another in our lives.
Denials come in the shape of all sorts of things: choosing not to believe in God, choosing not to proclaim Him as God, choosing not to acknowledge Him as God. But there is another form of denial that I think can be a bit more challenging to identify: voluntary sin amongst believers. When we, as believers, voluntarily sin, we are denying our love for our Savior by showing Him that we do not believe that He is enough.
No, we were not able to live during Jesus’ days on earth like Peter did. But like Peter, we are imperfect. If someone who walked with Jesus denied him not once, but three times in one night, how can we claim to be any better? So let us not be too quick to judge Peter’s denials, let these denials keep us humble. Let Peter’s denials remind us that our Salvation does not come from our works but by the grace of Jesus Christ.
It would have been easy after Peter denied Jesus for Jesus to deny any relationship with Peter. Yet Jesus did not disown him because our Savior is full of grace. He understands our inability to be perfect. He knows that we will mess up at moments. And although we are incapable of understanding his love for us, it is real and it is powerful.
So let us remember that…
By grace alone are we given the opportunity to become children of God.