A Word for Today

Walking Towards the Cross: Simon Peter-The Rock

Our failures show us that we are great sinners, but that’s not what Jesus wants us to focus on. He wants us to look to the cross and allow our failures to show us who Jesus is – a great Savior. by Lt. Colonel Jackie Bowers

Most of the twelve disciples are scarcely mentioned by name in the Gospels. James, John and Judas Iscariot are mentioned around twenty times each, Andrew is mentioned around thirteen times and Thomas around twelve. The other disciples are less than that; however, Simon Peter is mentioned by name over 100 times. It seemed that whenever Jesus was speaking or doing something in the Scripture, Peter was always nearby. He was the first disciple called by Jesus to follow Him. Peter seemed to be the leader of the disciples because of his bold spirit. Peter was even a part of the inner circle of Jesus. Let’s take a look at Peter today in this Holy Week devotional. Peter is so much like each of us. We seek to follow Jesus, but many times are imperfect in doing that faithfully.

In the Scripture, we read a bold statement made by Peter to Jesus, just after Jesus prayed for him: 

Jesus told Peter, 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has [d]demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Peter said,) 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34 And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

  Luke 22:31-34

Peter claimed rather boldly, “Jesus, it is just You and me, I am ready to go through anything for You, even if it is death.” To Peter’s declaration, Jesus tenderly shared with him the reality of what would happen, and just how Peter’s behavior in supporting Jesus though His sufferings would be different than what he claimed.

As we read in Scripture, it all plays out. Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives to pray, and Jesus is arrested. After the arrest, Peter’s whole scenario starts to fall apart as he follows Jesus, “at a distance” (Luke 22:54).

As we read on, we “watch” as Peter unknowingly fulfills everything Jesus said about him.

Early in the morning, as Jesus stands before His accusers in the courtyard just outside of where Jesus is accused, we see this happening with Peter:

1st Denial – Luke 22:55-57 

 “ 55And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.”

2nd Denial – Luke 22:58 

 “ 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

3rd Denial – Luke 22:59-60

“ 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.”

Just like that: Three times Peter denied knowing Jesus. The rooster crowed just as Jesus stated. Then, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the words of the Lord, how He had told Him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times” (Luke 22:61).

Oh, the bitter remorse of that moment.  What did Peter feel in his heart when Jesus turned and look at him?  I know how I would of felt if I was in Peter sandals!  We read in Luke 22:62, “And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Peter claimed rather boldly, “Jesus, it is just You and me, I am ready to go through anything for You, even if it is death.” To Peter’s declaration, Jesus tenderly shared with him the reality of what would happen, and just how Peter’s behavior in supporting Jesus though His sufferings would be different than what he claimed.

As we read in Scripture, it all plays out. Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives to pray, and Jesus is arrested. After the arrest, Peter’s whole scenario starts to fall apart as he follows Jesus, “at a distance” (Luke 22:54).

As we read on, we “watch” as Peter unknowingly fulfills everything Jesus said about him.

Early in the morning, as Jesus stands before His accusers in the courtyard just outside of where Jesus is accused, we see this happening with Peter:

The message in this story is that Jesus loves us and uses failures like Peter’s and our own. Peter’s failure was humiliating as well as horrible to him. He proclaimed his loyalty to Jesus. “I will lay down my life for you.” Peter thought he would! Then, the unimaginable happened. That night, however, Peter discovered how much he depended on Jesus for strength. Peter also discovered how powerful Satan was. Peter’s resolve was no match for Satan. Apart from Jesus, Peter could do nothing!

One source of hope for Peter was Jesus’ words, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:23). Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not be destroyed. “That your faith may not fail,” are such powerful words of hope because Jesus knew that from this failure, Peter would become a rock of strength for the Christian church. Our failures show us that we are great sinners, but that’s not what Jesus wants us to focus on. He wants us to look to the cross and allow our failures to show us who Jesus is – a great Savior.

Reflection

  1. Have we ever let Jesus down by our lack to be obedient to stand for Him in a situation that would require us to do so?  Do we allow fear to take control?
  2. How do we handle difficult situations?  Are we like Peter and forget who is really in charge of our lives? 
  3. How are we following in the footsteps of Christ each day?  Are we allowing Him to guide us in all that we do?

Chorus

I have decided to follow Jesus,  I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. 

Though none go with me, still I will follow, Though none go with me, still I will follow, Though none go with me, still I will follow, no turning back, no turning back.

The cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus, The cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus, The cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. 

Prayer

Dear Jesus: I want to thank you for the work you are doing in my life.  I am so grateful for every new opportunity that each day will bring.  Your grace is so amazing. As I depend on you for spiritual strength, I can find my faith in you grows deeper, and I am so thankful that I can depend on your strength to help me in every situation. I know that apart from you, Jesus, I can do nothing. Continue to help me see the plans you have for me, and to faithfully follow you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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