The Unavoidable Cross
Holy Servant, I journey with You as the cross draws near. Fill me with Your nourishing grace which always satisfies.
Consider: "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death" (2 Cor. 7:10). Like Peter, here are times when we need to truly repent of our sins and not to drift into self-pity.
Peter's collapse of courage is as striking as Jesus' dignified silence and bold confession. Jesus declared himself to be the Son of God under a solemn oath. Peter used common curses to deny even knowing Jesus. The very moment Jesus was being accused of being a false prophet (68) his prophecy about Peter's denial (34) was being fulfilled. Peter's cowardice kept him physically safe. Jesus' courageous testimony would lead to salvation for millions of people.
What followed was the total collapse of Peter's self-confidence. He had been so sure of his capacity for commitment (33) and his willingness to die for his Lord. Now he wept bitterly. Peter was not alone. All of the disciples had said the same (35) and all had fled. The weakness of these men is not portrayed in the Gospels so that we can be superior or laugh at their expense. It is recorded so that in them we can see ourselves. Being right about Jesus (16:16) is not the same as having the courage to live for him in public. Peter had to endure his own cross, the death of his illusions about himself, before he could be transformed by Jesus' cross and emboldened by the Holy Spirit.
We never stop being in need of the cross. The journey to fruitful discipleship, where we have given up defending ourselves and instead risk ourselves for Jesus' cause, leads through disillusion about our capacity to be disciples. Only those who acknowledge their weakness depend on God's power without succumbing to triumphalism or false pride. Only those who know their need of forgiveness are in a fit state to proclaim it to others. Jesus does not build his church on heroic leaders, but on humble men and women whom he has restored.
When have you felt like Peter? When did you cry in regret before God? How did you make a comeback?
Lord Jesus, in Your mercy strip me of the illusions I have about myself. Renew me in Your image and fit me for Your service.
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