The incident when Peter denies Jesus is a well known story from scripture. In this post, Steph Beth Nickel discusses human frailties, and God’s forgiveness as seen in John 18.
Boldly Declaring The Truth
While many proclaim Christ at great personal risk, there are millions of us who have the freedom to boldly declare what the Scriptures have to teach us. Yet, do we? I know I have personally missed many opportunities to declare the Truth revealed in God’s Word.
Jesus’ outspoken, impulsive disciple, Peter, was quick to jump out of the boat and walk toward his Master on the water—until he looked at the waves, questioned his sanity, and sunk like a stone. (The Lord graciously didn’t allow him to drown.)
When Jesus began to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter wanted no part of it. He knew very well that the Son of God should not be performing a task reserved for the lowliest of servants. He refused, that is until Jesus told him in John 13:8, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
And this same Peter hastily lopped off a man’s ear, even though he and the others were facing the soldiers, chief priests, and Pharisees who had come to arrest Jesus. The Lord chastened him saying, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11).
Peter Denies Jesus
This disciples’ commitment was sincere and yet, in his humanity, he didn’t always make the right call. And though warned earlier by Jesus that he would deny him, Peter proclaimed he would willingly die before denying the Lord. But that wasn’t to be.
Let’s read John 18:15-17 (ESV) .
“Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
Peter actually denied knowing the Lord two more times before the rooster crowed. And as you would expect, it broke his heart to realize just how faithless and fearful he actually was. (In God’s grace, after Jesus rose from the dead, He gave Peter a special commission, but Peter had to live with what he had done.)
Frailty and Misunderstandings
Over the years, I have identified with this disciple of Christ all too well. I’ve made many hasty comments, only to later face my own frailty and misunderstanding of God’s will in my life.
First, I’d like to share a humorous story with you. When I was preparing to attend Bible college, I was determined that I was going there to prepare for ministry—not to find a husband. And I was very outspoken about that fact. In fact, I became quite perturbed when anyone would suggest Bible college was a good place to find a husband. Little did I know that God was chuckling . . . for He knew that my walk-on-the-water faith would become a sink-like-a-stone-questioning-of-my-faith which would cause me to leave college after a year-and-a-half—having become engaged to the man of God’s choosing for me.
God Is Gracious And Forgiving
But on a more serious note, I have made many selfish decisions over the years, expending my time, energy, and resources on that which would not further God’s kingdom. I still have much to learn in this area, but as I said, God is gracious. His Holy Spirit convicts us of the areas in which we need to grow more Christlike and gives us the wherewithal to mature.
However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we can cling tightly to the promise in Romans 8:1 that says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (emphasis mine).
Peter was forgiven and given an amazing ministry. The Lord sanctified his passion and many have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ because of this man.
Though I’ve often failed to stand strong, God is patient, merciful, and gracious. He continues to teach me new things and give me the desire to walk in obedience to His Word.
How about you? Do you desire to get to know Him and live a life of obedience?
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Images courtesy of:
The Denial Of St. Peter – Gerard Seghers
Peter Slices off Servant’s Ear – Guiseppe Cesari
Sad Woman – Cynthia Turek