Saturday, February 24, 2007

About Denial

A few days ago I had an amazing night. I have been doing this Bible study and it took me to Romans 4. That was exactly what I needed that night. The author of the Bible study had suggested I read it out loud. By the time I got through it tears were streaming down my face. That night I wanted to share my new realization with so many people. I was excited. I had peace.

The next morning I got up and went about my day. At the end of the day on the way home from work I thought about the night before. I couldn’t believe that the experience I had didn’t define my entire day. How could I forget about that? How could I become distracted so quickly?

I thought about the story of Peter who denied Christ. In case you don’t know the story I will give you my version of it. Jesus is talking about how all of the disciples will desert him that night. Peter proclaims that he would never do that. Jesus says that before the rooster crows Peter will have denied Him three times. Here’s the rest of the story from the Bible:

Meanwhile, as Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, a servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” he said. Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said. A little later some other bystanders came over to him and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.” Peter said, “I swear by God, I don’t know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went away, crying bitterly. (Matthew 26: 69-75, NLT)

No I didn’t actually deny Christ but somehow my heart seems to be in a similar place. I think that I can never forget who God is and what he has done for me and then I just go about my day. But the story of Peter brings me hope. So I decided to study it and reflect on it some more. My reflections are my own as they apply to this situation. I am sure there is much more to say.

1. The story of Peter’s denial of Christ appears in each of the Gospels (accounts of Jesus’ life.) There are not very many stories that are in all four Gospels. Most of the stories that are common to each of the gospels are directly about what happened to Jesus during his trial, crucifixion, and rising from the dead. All four of the Gospels are quite different. This is really a side bar to what was happening to Jesus. It comforts me to know that it was important to God that I know about this story.

2. Peter was by no means lukewarm for Jesus. In John 21 Peter jumps out of a boat and swims to Jesus rather than waiting to row in. The interesting thing is this is after Peter had denied Jesus. He had no hesitation to run to his Lord.

3. Peter was not the only apostle to leave Jesus during the night of his trial and day of his death. With the exception of John there is no indication that any of the others remained either. Peter’s example is important he outright denied Christ. It is important not to forget that the others were missing entirely.

4. Peter seemed to be the first one to ‘get’ things. In Matthew 16 Peter says that Jesus is the Messiah. He understood what was going on. Later in the book of Acts Peter preaches to a crowd with incredible passion. Again Peter seemed to be the first to be able to explain this to others.

So what am I taking away from this? I can have my days where I forget Who I belong to. I can come back without hesitation. I can keep fighting for understanding. I just need to remember to come back.

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