WHEN COURAGE FAILS
Lord, let Your perfect love cast out any fear of following You that I may harbor in my heart.
Read Matthew 26:69–75
Peter Disowns Jesus
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecall a time when your courage has failed and you have badly let down someone you love.
It had already been a very bad night and for Peter it was just about to get worse. At the point of Jesus’ arrest all the disciples desert Jesus and run away (56). Then, only one of them, Peter, follows Jesus and the soldiers to the high priest’s house. What do you think gave Peter the courage to follow at a distance and to linger to see what happened to Jesus?
Surely love for Jesus allows Peter to overcome his fear and enter into enemy territory. Peter is experiencing what John would later describe in one of his letters: “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18). Even when Peter is recognized, he does not leave immediately. Perhaps he is remembering, somewhere in his subconscious, what Jesus has taught about his followers acknowledging him in public (Matt. 10:32).
Peter is torn. Love for Jesus makes him want to stay close; fear makes him want to run for his life and leads him to lie. It isn’t until the third time he is challenged and he hears the rooster crow that fear and shame overwhelm him and he leaves, distraught. Peter’s internal battle is one that is common to us all. Love for Jesus will always be at odds with love for ourselves.
What is struggling for uppermost place in your heart? What changes would it take in your life to secure Jesus as first place?
Ask God’s forgiveness for those times when love of self has triumphed over love for Jesus.