By Robyn Spradlin
How often have you read the passage of Peter’s denial of Jesus and felt sorry for Peter because he failed to stand up for Jesus? I have. One day, when considering his denial again, it suddenly dawned on me how often we Christians do the same thing every day. The Lord prompts us to pray. We play instead. He instructs us to witness to our neighbor, literally or figuratively. We tell them a joke. The Lord requests us to fast. We feast. He asks us to spend time in His Word. We hurry out the door to work. What are these, if not acts of denial? We deny the Lord for the comfort and convenience of our flesh.
The flesh is not merely our physical body but our mind, will, and emotions. Our flesh intertwines with our soul. We pick up bad habits from our environments to soothe and pamper our flesh. Everything the Lord asks or calls us to do will be hard on our flesh. Pressure to become aligned with Christ, the Anointed One, and His Anointing will always face off with our tantrum-throwing flesh.
“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee.’ But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are saying.’ And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ But again he denied with an oath, ‘I do not know the Man!’ And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.’ Then he began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I do not know the Man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the Word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So he went out and wept bitterly.”Matthew 26:69-75
Enduring Word’s commentary explains this passage well,
“Peter was not questioned before a hostile court or even an angry mob. Peter’s own fear made a servant girl and another girl hostile monsters in his eyes, and he bowed in fear before them.”
“I do not know the Man! Peter’s sin of denying his association with Jesus grew worse with each denial. First, he merely lied; then he took an oath to the lie; then he began to curse and swear.”
Peter’s denial was disobedience. Disobedience is a sin.
“Peter remembered the word of Jesus…so he went out and wept bitterly: Peter finally remembered and took to heart what Jesus said, but in this case he did so too late. For now, all he could do was to weep bitterly. Yet Peter would be restored, showing a significant contrast between Judas (showing apostasy) and Peter (showing backsliding).”
- Apostasy is giving up the truth, as Judas did. Judas was sorry about his sin, but it was not a sorrow leading to repentance.
- Backsliding is a decline from a spiritual experience once enjoyed. Peter slipped, but he will not fall; his bitter weeping will lead to repentance and restoration.
Many ministers do not talk about sin anymore. They do not talk about repentance, either. Why do you think that is?
In Peter’s case, he denied the Lord three times as Jesus had predicted. Scripture says after the cock crowed the third time, Peter went out and wept bitterly. He realized his wrong. He desired restoration. Have you heard the cock crow lately? I have, and I am repenting, returning to the place of obedience.
Thank you, Lord, for your correction and forgiveness. Until next time.
Scriptures quoted from the New King James Version. Photo by Fa Barbozaa on Unsplash
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