Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)
Peter Disowns Jesus
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. *
Fear, anxiety and life-altering changes that leave us wondering what will happen next can shake us to the core. How do we handle fear and uncertainty? Peter seemed to fall into a pattern of denial. Denial seems so easy. What happens next? Peter gave up his day job to follow a man who seemed to have all the answers, and now that man was about to be crucified. Now what? What will happen to Jesus’ followers without Jesus? What will happen to Peter? Would the Romans crucify Peter too?
We all fall short of the example Jesus sets for us. We feel fear at times. Fear can be powerful. How do we handle fear? And how do we move forward after we make big mistakes? God places his Holy Spirit in believers’ hearts. The Holy Spirit is a precious treasure. It is a guarantee of eternal life in paradise with God. Why does God put something so valuable into jars of clay? We all, formed from the soil, live in our mortal bodies like jars of clay that leak water, have cracks, are irregularly shaped and tend to break. Who puts a priceless treasure into a jar of clay that is here today and gone tomorrow? God does. What an interesting approach. God takes us as we are, cracked jars of clay, leaking water and somewhat fragile, and he puts a priceless treasure into us. God puts His Holy Spirit in believers. God likes us. God wants good things for us. He gives us second chances when we stumble and fall. God has plans for each one of us. God believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.
Peter had not yet been given the Holy Spirit. He received that at Pentecost. During the three years Peter followed Jesus as a disciple he made some big mistakes. He denied Jesus three times, but he also walked on water. Sure he looked down and started sinking, but while his gaze was fixed on Jesus he could walk on water.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for Your Word which encourages me by showing me that great men in my Christian heritage have struggled and failed. They have felt fear and made great mistakes. Please help me manage my fears, Lord. Help me feel your strength when I am afraid. Your strength is perfected in my weakness. Please lift me up when I stumble and fall. Help me repent of my mistakes. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you that you are the God of Second Chances. Thank you for your Holy Spirit which lives within me. Thank you for Jesus. AMEN.
*This scripture passage is the NIV version of the Bible taken from biblegateway.com. This fourth prayer on fear for Stations of the Cross originally appeared at jaynechaseloseke.com on February 27, 2014 and was used at Faith Bible High School.