It is Easter Weekend. There is so much I could write about; the pain and agony that Christ suffered so we might have life or the miracle of the resurrection which should bring hope to us in our darkest times.
As I read this morning’s devotion once again I read about Peter denying Christ three times.
“But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!” Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.” Mark 14:72-72
We have all read this scripture dozens of times. Again this morning I wondered for the millionth time how could Peter have denied Christ. Christ told him he’d do it so why wasn’t he aware of it? I made it all about Peter. Why didn’t Peter just admit it? Why did Peter fear for his life so much he was willing to lie? Why did Peter…What was Peter thinking?
How many times have I looked at someone else’s life and wondered why they did this or that? How many times have I questioned someone about their actions? Why do I look at other’s lives and wonder what were they thinking?
But then my mind turns inward and I have to wonder how many times have others looked at my life and wondered why I did what I did. I wonder how many times people have questioned my motives or wondered what I was all about.
There have been times I have prayed with some and not chosen to pray with others. Why? It wasn’t because I thought they didn’t deserve it. It was because I thought they might not want it, they might not understand, they might come with an unwilling spirit, but is that my call? I must be a willing servant and offer prayer to all. It’s up to God to deal with their spirit.
How many times have I spoken to one person, but neglected another? How many times have I ….the questions just keep coming. How many times have people looked at my life and just shook their head; not understanding.
We know the story goes on to tell us Peter remembered and he wept. There have been times I have felt like weeping because I had a chance to share God’s love with someone and I blew it. There have been times I know I should have prayed, but selfish thoughts came in and I let them slip away. We have all felt remorseful for something we did; even to the point of crying.
Christ forgave Peter and restored Him. I think this changed the course of Peter’s life. By denying Christ three times and feeling so much remorse I think He probably lived with this for the rest of his life. I would imagine Peter remembered this and did not deny Christ anymore. I have remembered those times and I have tried to be better because of those times. I am sure I have failed and will fail again, but like Peter Christ will forgive me and hopefully I will learn from my mistakes. We all can.
There are several reasons Peter might have denied Christ. One it was a learning tool for Peter. Another reason was Peter valued his life. He did not want to give up his life. He wanted to live, but what do the scriptures tell us?
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26
Scriptures tell us here very plainly if we want to have life we must lose it. If we lose it for Christ’s sake then we will find life…abundant life. Losing our life is not the worst thing that can happen to us; for if we lose it we have something far better waiting for us.
God took Peter’s denial and done some amazing work. We must remember when we mess up there is a possibility God will take that mistake and do something amazing. Our job is not to take our life and try to do amazing things. Our job is to stand back and allow God to do amazing things through us.
There is something else in this scripture that just came to light. Did you catch it? Peter denied Christ, but in this very scripture Jesus says we are to deny ourselves. Deny means not allow yourself something. For me that means to deny myself of earthly treasures or those things that will take my focus off of God and put them on me. Denying oneself does not mean being in need, God provides. Denying myself means turning the focus off of me and on Him.
How are you doing at denying yourself? Do you condemn Peter without looking at your own life? Are you living in shame or guilt because of something you have done or didn’t do? Have you denied Christ and like Peter you are in a state of weeping? Be like Peter seek forgiveness and accept His mercy and grace. Stand back and watch. You just never know what God will do in your life.
Dear Lord, I no longer condemn Peter. I am a Peter myself. I am one that has denied you and probably more than three times. I have wept for those times I have denied you. Like Peter I didn’t want to give up my life or have others turn against me. Remind when I deny you so that I may go weep and ask for forgiveness. You made Peter into a rock. He did some great things in His life. Let me be mindful that you can take my life and do great things if I only come to you asking for forgiveness and allowing you to work in my life. Take my life and let it be yours. Amen