April 5, 2018
“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 14:72 (NIV)
It’s easy to believe God when everything goes according to our plans.
But what about when we assume we know what a good God would do, and He doesn't do it? That's when things can start to get a bit complicated. It's the place where doubts are formed and disappointment grows. The place where we can be tempted to distance ourselves from God with a heart of distrust.
And in this week after Easter, I can’t help but think about Peter — a man who boldly declared to Jesus, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you" (Mark 14:31b, NIV), but then found himself doing the exact opposite.
Let’s take a closer look at Peter’s story in Mark 14.
While we see Jesus remaining faithful in the midst of the pain and turmoil of a beloved friend's betrayal (Mark 14:43-45) and the high priest's interrogation (Mark 14:53-65), we find Peter with faltering faith as he stands waiting in a courtyard. (Mark 14:66-72)
Afraid. Cold. Forgetful. Peter soon denies the One who loved him most.
Once. Twice. Three times.
A rooster's shrill cry ushers in the shocking realization that the very thing Peter swore he'd never do, he did.
And as much as we might want to shake our fists at Peter, I for one know I can't. Because I get it. I really do. I know what it's like to have intentions that are good but follow-through that falls to pieces. It's easy to say the words — we're all in for Jesus, and we'll do anything He asks of us. But then we get rejected or hurt by someone or become afraid we’ll fail, and it becomes difficult to live out those words.
Fear, pain and insecurities can really do a number on our hearts.
They certainly did a number on Peter's as he watched Jesus, the one Peter had seen perform miracles, allow Himself to be bound and arrested. Jesus was supposed to be the King who would deliver the Jewish people from the oppression of the Romans. How could this be happening? Peter didn't realize this was the only way he or anyone else could experience Jesus reigning as King in eternity.
So, in a moment of doubt and disappointment, Peter chose to distance himself from Jesus. Distancing himself to the point of complete denial.
To deny something is to declare it's untrue. To deny Jesus is to say with our words, thoughts or actions that we don't really believe the truth of Who Jesus says He is or what He says He’ll do.
How heartbreaking. For us. For Jesus.
But before we give in to feelings of shame, let's look at Luke 22:61-62. This passage gives us a slightly different glance at the moments immediately following Peter's final denial: "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly."
The look that passed between Jesus and Peter wasn't one of condemnation. It wasn't an "I told you so" moment. I believe Jesus' eyes were filled with compassion for Peter. The same compassion He has for us today. A look that invites us to trust Him and draw near to Him once again.
Oh, friends. We need to ask ourselves where we’re denying Jesus’ truth in our lives. Where are we denying Jesus’ healing? Or denying Jesus’ forgiveness — for ourselves or others? Where are we denying Jesus’ redemption? Where are we denying Jesus’ hope?
Nothing is beyond the reach of our Jesus. In Him, everything is certain. No matter what we've done. No matter what the enemy or our life’s circumstances may say. Nothing is beyond the reach of Jesus.
We don't have to deny Him. We don't have to doubt His truth. His truth is certain. His victory is secure. And because we’re in Him and He’s in us, that truth is sure and certain for us, as well.
Dear Lord, You know my every weakness. You see my every failure. Yet You love me still. Thank You. Please forgive me for ever doubting You. Forgive me for denying You. I turn my gaze to You and proclaim today that You are the Christ. The One my soul longs for. The One who suffered, so I wouldn't have to. Give me relief from my unbelief. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (NIV)
Luke 1:37, “For no word from God will ever fail.” (NIV)
Do you ever struggle to believe God can actually use you? Doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Lies from the enemy. Discouraging words spoken by others. All these things can lead us to deny the truth that God can work through any willing and surrendered heart. That’s why we want to invite you to join us this year for She Speaks and She Speaks Studio! Both events are designed to encourage and equip you as you seek to share the hope and truth of Jesus through writing, speaking and leading. Find out more when you sign up here today.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ask the Lord to reveal any areas in your life where you’ve been denying Jesus. Prayerfully ask Him to give you relief from your unbelief. Let us know in the comments how we can pray for you.
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 05 April 2018.