Monday, March 18, 2013

Lent Day 30: When worst fears come true

"I'd be the last one who'd run away," he promised. "I'd never say anything bad about you. Never leave you in the lurch."

He was in my trusted inner circle. I took him and two others with me when the rest of the group stayed behind. I'd shown those three the real me; they'd seen my highs and lows. They knew me better than anyone else. And he was the outstanding spokesman among them. The one I was counting on to galvanize my plan into action when I left.

I knew he was telling the biggest lies of his lifetime. He would be the one who would deny that he had anything to do with me. He would swear to be a stranger. He'd insist - THREE times! - that he didn't even know me.

I warned him in advance but he couldn't see what was coming. Though I tried to put him on guard, he didn't catch on. He walked right into the trap. And when he realized what he'd done, he broke down and cried.


The gospel writer Mark tells us how Jesus thus forewarned Peter that he would deny Jesus three times ... before the morning rooster crowed twice. Peter couldn't imagine that he's abandon his trusted friend and companion. After all, Jesus was the Messiah. The King. The problem-solver. The one Peter had believed in and all Israel had waited for. All that Jesus needed was the right moment to shine - and Peter planned to be there.

Instead, things went horribly wrong. Jesus was arrested, betrayed by one of their group. He was taken away, beaten, spit on, and a mob screamed for his crucifixion. This was trouble. And Peter didn't want to risk the same thing happening to him.

So he did the unthinkable. He lied. Three times. And Jesus, bruised and bleeding, had known he would do it. Jesus looked Peter in the eye. Forgave Peter as he was led away.

Have you ever lied or cheated to get yourself out of harm's way? If so, you can relate to Peter. You've BEEN Peter.

We excuse our un-truths as self-defense, as getting ahead, and as "What-I-Had-To-Do-To-Save-Myself." Except that we feel broken and crushed by our betrayal. Maybe we're not the one who pointed out the person who gets axed. Maybe we stayed quiet or denied our part in an affair to protect ourselves, letting someone else take the punishment. Maybe we joined the wrong crowd to guard our interests.

Just like Peter, we look into the eyes of Jesus to find only love and forgiveness. Why not accept what God knows about you and me? We fail. Our worst fears about ourselves are true. We're not who we hoped we'd be when the pressure hit. Thankfully, God - through His son Jesus - suffered our penalty so we can live free and forgiven.

Had Peter not accepted Jesus' assignment to nurture those around him, who knows how Christian faith would have spread? What if Peter had said, "No! I'm too broken and I can't be trusted" when Jesus asked him to, "Feed my sheep and my lambs?" We would never have heard Peter's thrilling speech of Pentecost in Acts 2. We could never have read about his untiring zeal to spread Good News. The early Church would never have had Peter's strong and courageous leadership.

What is God asking of you today? 
Will you accept that God chose you to do this, knowing exactly who you are (and who you were)?

Read more:
*I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26 NLT

*So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: "There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man's own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man's lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest."

David was furious. "As surely as the LORD lives,' he vowed, 'any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity."

Then Nathan said to David, "You are that man!"…

Then David confessed to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." 2 Samuel 12:1–7, 13 NLT

*Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4 NLT

*The woman declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched Jesus, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:47-48 NLT

*Our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Holy One, what a gift life is! How precious is our time here on earth! May we move through this day with gentleness and unrestrained gratitude. Today, especially, we give thanks for life in Christ Jesus.

Restoring God, thank you for the healing waters of your grace. Grant us the courage and faith to reach out in love to those most in need of healing and hope – especially those who are “the least of these”. Amen.


  1. Another excellent post, Rosemarie - we all have a "Peter" side, and often it appears in the most inoportune and crucial moments of life. Thankfully the Holy Spirit can provide self-control when we need it.

  2. I agree. Failing is neither inevitable nor defining for the future. SO grateful for mercy and grace.