Lent - Day 24
Posted on: March 24, 2020
by: Gerrit Dawson, Senior Pastor
by: Gerrit Dawson, Senior Pastor
Day 24 Tuesday
PETER, PART 3
That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).
FOLLOWING THE SCRIPT
Matthew 26: 69-73
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”
John 18: 15-18, 25-27
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
In a rush of loyalty Peter drew his sword to fight off Jesus’ arresters. Before the night was over, he hadn’t the courage to admit to a serving maid his faith in Jesus. The bombastic personality of Peter was on full display that final night. The Rock turned to mush. As someone once noted about the absurdity of Peter’s denying oath: he swore to God he didn’t know God!
John’s account takes us deeper into the devastating nature of this wilting. We recall that earlier in John 18, when the mob said they sought Jesus, he replied, “I am” and they fell to the ground for the power of his affirmation. Just a few verses later, Peter is asked if he is one of Jesus’ disciples. He replies “I am not.” Literally, the words are “Not, I am,” or ouk eimi. The contrast could not be starker. Jesus is pure I am: light, life, love, being. Peter, in denying Jesus, negates his very self! Who are you now Peter? NOT I am. Peter disowned Jesus trying to save his own skin. But to cut oneself off from Jesus is to cancel out one’s very life. It is to lose oneself.
It is no wonder that another gospel tells us that after the rooster crowed, Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22: 62). In stepping away from Jesus, Peter had stepped away from life itself.
PRAYING IN CHARACTER
Oh Lord, the words said that I can never get back!
The silence when I should have spoken for someone!
The moment for me to stand passed me by.
The hurt I caused; the pain I failed to prevent.
Fear ruled me. My choice for
Self-preservation. Control. Saving Face. Freedom.
I got none of those.
I am ashamed. I am enslaved to my fears.
The life drains out of me, and I am helpless to stop it.
Seizing “me” made me a shell of a person.
Worse, I trained the life out of others.
I now weep bitter tears.
The rooster crows. Time is up.
I am too little too late. Again.
And I know I cannot too quickly resolve
The crisis, turn the story, claim the victory.
I am before you this day a full-fledged Peter at dawn.
Look upon me and see the truth of who you called.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).
To deny God is to negate oneself. I once heard a preacher say, “Think of the absurdity of Peter’s denial: Peter swore to God that he didn’t know God! He didn’t want to be where he was, with everything falling apart. He didn’t want even to exist anymore with Jesus being taken away and others accusing him menacingly. So he went to the place of non-sense. The “Not me” of his denial became the “Not I am” of losing himself in denying Jesus. Declaring “I don’t know him!” was equivalent to canceling his own life.
Raniero Cantalamessa describes the self-destroying nature of our denials of Christ:
“By refusing to glorify God, man himself becomes ‘deprived of the glory of God.’ Sin offends God, that is, it saddens him greatly, but only in so far as it brings death to man whom he loves; it wounds his love. . . .
Sin leads to death . . . the ‘state’ of death, that is precisely what has been called ‘mortal illness,’ a state of chronic death. In this state the creature desperately tends to return to being nothing but without succeeding and lives therefore as if in an eternal agony. . . . the creature is obliged by One stronger than himself to be what he does not consent to be, that is dependent on God, and his eternal torment is that he cannot get rid of either God or of himself. . . . He would wish to be left free to return to nothingness. . . . because he does not want to be what he is, dependent on God. . . . this is the way to pure desperation.” (Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ, 1990, pp. 28-29).
Such as the bitter agony Peter experienced that night, and that we, if we resist the truth of Christ which we know, will experience all our lives before we turn back to him.
Posted in: Lent 2020: The People of Passion Week