“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5 NLT
When God gave this word to Solomon, He was thinking of Mary, of Martha. He was thinking of Peter, of Paul, of John, of the Woman caught in adultery….too many to tell. He was thinking of me, Lisa and of you, of you as well.
I believe this.
I missed the part about the meeting of their faces until I read the passage. A familiar passage, I remembered the telltale rooster crow and skimmed over the way Jesus saw it all. Jesus saw it all.
I can’t stop thinking how Peter must have felt the next morning. Did he experience a hangover of sorts? Here I am again letting doubt takeover? Maybe not because these hours were the deadly ones, the tortured crucifixion. Sorrow over self had no place then. Only the reality of sacrificial and loving death.
Peter, a man who was the brother of John, the one who was able to step from a stormy boat to walk on the top of the ocean because he trusted God, was sure of Jesus.
His denial to others of his belief is a captivating story.
Jesus told him as he prepared them all at the Last Supper and before. Jesus told Peter, you will deny me.
“Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.””
Luke 22:34 ESV
Peter was adamant that he wouldn’t.
But he finds himself sitting around a fire outside a high priest’s house that held the captured Jesus. Peter has followed the throng at a distance from Jesus. Not so far that he didn’t appear to be associated with the Savior. Just far enough to avoid the reactions of the ones who’d be making the crucifixion decision.
The onlookers build a fire, like concert-goers in line for a sell out I suppose. Fireside conversation begins and three separate people spread the word, this man here, hey you, we saw you with him. As if to say, why are you sitting here when you’re known to be a friend of Jesus?
Peter told all three, “not me”.
“And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
Luke 22:58 ESV
Then a rooster crowed three times. Peter met the eyes of the watching Jesus. He wept. He wept at the realization of a Savior who knew him so very well.
“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Luke 22:61-62 ESV
Peter’s story doesn’t end here. He encountered the resurrected Jesus and he continued his life proclaiming all he had learned from his experiences with Jesus.
I’m thinking about the fireside scene. How in the world did Peter succumb to peer pressure? Why was it so hard for him to believe without being afraid of consequence or opinion?
I believe it may have been just a fear in general in believing good things could actually come true.
But, this is probably just my takeaway. That we believe what we can count on based on our histories to be true, to be certain, to be what we can count on.
Our humanity causes our hearts to draw the map for our minds to follow. I don’t think Peter was unsure of Jesus. More than that, he was unsure of himself. So, he placed himself with the accusers, the deniers, the cynics and the intellects.
He felt more at home that night with the ones who chose to believe a sure thing, not life changing, miraculous or unseeable.
Jesus knew he would. Peter’s behavior was forgiven. The account of Peter tells the undeniable truth for me and you.
Jesus knows we’re prone to doubt, afraid to speak out, that we dumb ourselves down at times when it comes to our faith.
Jesus knows we’re afraid to be bold on occasion. Knows we’re quite tentative in stepping into his promise of better, of complete.
Yesterday, I heard a statement.
You will be as safe from sin as you are close to Jesus.
What I believe and whether I believe completely is fully known by God. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. His denial leaves a compelling story for us all.
The regret of Peter over distancing himself from Jesus. The realization and tender repentance when met with the gaze of Jesus.
A repentance, loving and open because of mercy we all can know.
Again and again.
What we believe makes the difference. Believing with an uncertainly over God or believing with all our hearts.
“The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:9 NLT