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Lent | Holy Week: Day

Denial

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Today's Text: Text: Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:10, John 21:17

Text: Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:10, John 21:17

When I think of Peter in the Bible, I often picture him as a best friend of Jesus – someone Jesus dearly loved in spite of his flaws, as only BFF’s can do. He could be a bit of a hothead, that Peter, like the time when the high priests came to take Jesus away for trial and “… Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave” (John 18:10, NLT). Jesus stepped in and rebuked Peter, reminding him that this was God’s will for Him as the Son. But they were friends; and Peter would do anything for his friend.

When Jesus began the process of saying goodbye to the men He loved so dearly, Jesus foretold that they would each leave Him at some point in the coming days. “All of you will desert me,” He said (Mark 14:27).

Passionate Peter emphatically rejects the thought. He can’t imagine he would ever do such a thing to his friend, but Jesus responds to him definitively, “I tell you the truth, Peter — this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me” (Mark 14:30, NLT).

How heavy the burden on Jesus’ heart must have been to know what He was about to suffer, what He was about to feel and see, but also to know in those moments His dear brothers would leave Him – deny even knowing anything about Him. It’s one thing to hear the crowd shout “hosanna!” only to be swayed to cries of “crucify him!” days later; and for Judas, the Betrayer, to hand him over with a kiss. It’s another to watch those who are closest to Him to walk away as He prepares to die in their stead.

Yet, Jesus loved them all – enough to die for them, eyes wide open.

When Peter denied Him the third time, the Bible says, “At that moment The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind” (Luke 22:61, NLT). And Peter wept. He didn’t run back and say, “Wait, I am a disciple of Jesus!” He turned away and cried.

We can only guess that a part of Peter finally understood how weak he really was in his faith, but the years after would grow and sanctify him into a man who was deeply committed to the Lord. He was one of the first to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection, Jesus asking Peter to “feed [His] sheep” (John 21:17). And the first chapters of the book of Acts describe Peter’s leadership role among the disciples. His sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2 lead more than 3000 people to the Lord (Acts 2:37-47)!

The same Peter who denied Christ three times is the one God used to help establish the early Church.

As you seek the Lord in the coming days in preparation for Easter Sunday, remember God’s great love for Peter. He was a disciple – a great friend to Christ – and yet he fell short. Very short. And Christ loved him still – and called him to do great work for His Kingdom!

Isn’t God good to show us over and over again, even amidst the trial of His Son, that He loves us? When we are weak, He is strong. And He wants to use us in the great outworking of His plan for His glory!

  • Something amazing about Jesus: in these words and actions he has shown up my unrighteousness and unforgiveness towards others. But instead of condemnation, there is conviction and then so much love and compassion that He accepts us in spite of our failings. That is what will empower me to make things right again.

  • He is so good. Amen.

  • Samantha

    PTL for his mercy and his love because I definitely don’t deserve it! Thank you God for loving me!

  • lizbethjoy

    I love that He still uses to use us even through our failure! We may have messed up but He is not done with su yet!

  • I just got done writing in my journal about how I feel like a failure for not using this season of Lent to draw closer to Him. I haven't been visiting #SRT, or reading my Bible, I have been living the life I want instead of the one He wants for me.

    But then I decided to come read today's devotional. And what beautiful and powerful words! This is exactly exactly EXACTLY what I needed today. I felt so weak, but I needed the reminder that even Peter had he moments of weakness. And God loved him. And God loves me.

  • journalsofavagabond

    "It’s another to watch those who are closest to Him to walk away as He prepares to die in their stead. Yet, Jesus loved them all – enough to die for them, eyes wide open."
    This caught me right in the gut. How often have I walked away from what He wanted, how often have I verbally proclaimed Him and yet denied Him by my lifestyle. And yet still, He loves. Still, beneath it all, His eyes are wide open and He embraces me no matter what I've done or haven't done, and He loves me. Loves like no other.
    Lord teach me this season to love like You do, eyes and arms wide open. Holding back nothing from those who need You.

  • I'm going to get back on in a bit to look at everyone's comments, and then I might have more to say, haha, but wow.
    None of us here have a heart to discredit, deny or condemn Jesus to justify ourselves… yet we do. I can hear myself being Peter, emphatically crying out, "Lord, I love you! I would NEVER deny you! I would rather die!" and I would genuinely mean it. Yet, Jesus knows full well that we have, are, and will continue to deny him on a monthly… daily… hourly basis by justifying and pursuing sin. He knows just how prone our hearts are to wonder– and yet, He loves us enough to draw us back in each time with His love, power, grace and kindness. My faithfulness has nothing to do with His faithfulness. He delights in a heart that is bent toward Him, but even when we lose that battle to the flesh, He is ready and willing, waiting, to be faithful to us despite ourselves. Wow. Praise you, Jesus… Praise you… that your work done for me has nothing to do for me. I pray you'd help me to love you more and more, throwing off the flesh in pursuit of your Great Love. Amen.
    Be blessed, dear friends. I love you guys!

    • megan w

      Amen! I know exactly how you feel. And His grace is enough! He will always be waiting for us. <3

  • I’ve fallen just as short as Peter and it’s a long, long way to my wretched bottom. Bitterness, anger jealously, selfishness and unbelief. I could go on and on. The list is quite long and painful. But today’s devotional and Bible text has shown me how gracious and good my God is.
    I take a great deal of comfort in the fact that God sees the whole of my life. All the good bad and otherwise. He knows the REAL me and His grace covers ALL of me in my mess.

    Lord, I stand in awe of Your love and grace in my life. It’s such a glorious sight! Thank You Jesus that You promise to never leave me or forsake me. Lord, I give You praise and honor for all of the blessings You’ve given me: my health, my amazing son, Brandon, my ministry and so much more! Loving You today Lord with a heart full and overflowing because of Your love. In Jesus Name! Amen.

  • "The same Peter who denied Christ three times is the one God used to help establish the early Church."

    This statement really sticks out to me…it amazes me and reminds once again how great our God is! Time after time, mistake after mistake…He is still there with open arms ready to love on little ole me! Thank you Lord for your everlasting mercy!!!

  • As I read this, all I want to do is cry! Cry tears of sadness for all He went through, cry tears of happiness for what He did for us! It is still amazing how even in my moments where I act like Peter He still loves me and wants to use me! Thank you for this amazing message!!!!

  • pinkcupcakesandcardio

    "O how He loves you and me, O how He loves you and me,
    He gave His life, what more could He give?
    O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
    O how He loves you and me.

    Jesus to Calv'ry did go, His love for mankind to show;
    What He did there bro't hope from despair:
    O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
    O how He loves you and me!"

    I have a voice student singing this song this weekend at a Fine Arts competition. After reading today's post this song was the first thing that popped into my mind. What an amazing Lord we serve!

  • Bev [email protected]

    He is able!

  • I'm so often in Peter's shoes. Best intentions and no follow-through.

    How comforting to know that I can grow and change with the Lord's help.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen sister. "Best intentions and no follow through" are me too much of the time… But unlike me, Jesus doesn't beat me up for it. He loves me despite it, fiercely and never-failingly. Lord, change me with your love, and help me to stop trying to change myself using strict religion and guilt. That never gives freedom like the kind you so freely, beautifully, and willingly give.

  • Rachel Nordgren

    This morning, I was comforted by Jesus' mercy to Peter in John 21. Jesus gives Peter three chances to almost "redeem" himself when He asks Peter three times if he loves Him. I think Jesus was wanting to show Peter that it was ok, that all was forgiven, that he still had a future.

    I am so ridiculously encouraged by Peter's story and God's grace to him. This is the man who went from a hot-headed denier to the Rock of the Early Church. How good is our God?! That He has the power to turn around someone's story THAT much?! He uses us in spite of our weaknesses and failings…they do not disqualify us from serving His kingdom.

    That's beautiful mercy.

    • drasch

      I often "flip to the end" when I read Peter's denial… I go to the scriptures that describe Jesus' forgiveness of Peter after the Resurrection. It's so comforting, and I just want to GET THERE… but now is where we are, and we must work through in order to get through.

      I hate waiting. :)

      • Rachel Nordgren

        Yes…I understand! Just wanting to "get there"! But knowing how far Peter fell makes his redemption all the sweeter.

  • I often ask God to forgive me for my unfaithfulness to Him, because He is ALWAYS good and ALWAYS faithful to me. I'm such a Peter. Praise God that he is up there interceding on our behalf and that the victory is already won!

  • Steph_Lilac

    "When we are weak, He is strong. And He wants to use us in the great outworking of His plan for His glory!" Judas' weakness allowed Jesus to be seized and ultimately nailed to the Cross, Peter's weakness allowed The Gospel to be passionately preached.

    Can you imagine how cocky Peter might have been if he didn't deny Christ? "Yes, that's my friend, I knew him personally, He was closest to me, we shared plenty of secrets, He always called on me for everything, I was the number one disciple." The focus would have been off what Christ did and on who Peter was. Denying Christ and recognizing his wrong ignited a burning passionate fire in Peter to preach the truth of Christ. That's just like our Savior to give beauty for ashes. Taking something ugly and making it beautiful. Our weakness for His Glory. Amen!

    • AnnaLee

      Amen Steph! That even our weakness and failings have beautiful usage in God's economy! Lord, thank you for giving me the trials you have. For helping me to see my utter weakness, grossness, vileness, so that your Love could even more strongly eclipse all of it right before me! Praise God, that He uses weak, broken things in the dark and transforms them by his mighty Love and light.

  • I have countless faults, yet He loves ME!
    He will use imperfect me to further His Kingdom. Humbled.

  • Candacejo

    He knew me, yet He loved me!
    He, whose glory makes the heavens shine.
    So unworthy, of such mercy!
    Yet, when He was on the cross,
    I was on His mind.

    He knew me, just like Peter, yet He loved me anyway by going through with Calvary! There is hope for the hopeless, grace, forgiveness and mercy for all of us today. Lord Jesus, we thank YOU!

  • It always amazes me when he uses the most "Unlikely" to carryout his purpose. Looking back on my own salvation experience, and sharing Christ with others, we often feel that we need to "clean up" before we come to Christ, before we are good enough to speak on his behalf, before we can serve him . . . God tells us over and over again through the story of Peter, of David, and many others, that His Will can be done through the "Unlikely" or "Underserving", because He is who He is. God cleans us up, we are unable to ever clean up enough to be worthy of His love or His Mercy. I praise God that He can love a sinner like me, and use me despite all my shortcomings.

    • Rachel Nordgren

      He delights in having His will done by the unlikely and undeserving, because it all the more points to His majesty and power. If God only called the qualified, how powerful would He really be? He uses the weak and the broken because He's just that good.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen, Shelia. Feeling the need to "clean up" and "get my act together" before letting myself come before God or letting Him use me is the utmost mistake. Truth is, I'm a huge, emotional, fickle, sinful, gross and at times, unstable mess who rarely has their act together (whatever that means). Are those things wrong to be? Yes, they usually come about when I'm not focused on or abiding in Christ. Can God fix and heal those things? Yes. Always. In His perfect timing. Can He use me when I'm even in that state? Yes. He can do whatever He pleases. This is something I need to let absorb more. Lord, help me to let you use me whenever and however, no matter the circumstance. I'm weak and completely gross; cleanse me of all unrighteousness and bring me close to You, so that I never lose sight of Your great love for me, for us.

  • Emily Thomas

    I typically think of the physical pain Jesus was in but not what it would feel like if all your closest friends-the exact ones you were dying for- deserted you on front of your very eyes. There are so many layers here.
    I love that you mentioned his eyes were wide open. He knows what kind of wretch I am. He still wanted to die for me.

    • Rachel Nordgren

      Yes…the thought of your closest friends utterly bailing on you during one of the hardest moments in your life…that can hurt your heart a lot.

      You're right. We're utterly wretched, and yet Christ STILL wanted to save us. What extravagant mercy!!

    • AnnaLee

      Such a feeling of abandonment, of loneliness, of desperation, watching all of your friends act as if they don't even know you. The Lord is THE best friend… that He would forgive and love us, even when we acted so cold, so bitterly and violent, towards Him, utterly casting Him out. He loves us more than the hate we throw at Him, always. He has more grace than we do sin. Father, thank you… Praise Your Holy Name forever, Jesus. That you first loved us, and that you have never, ever stopped, and that you do EVERYTHING out of love for us. I'm in awe. Beautiful.

  • Such a great reminder of mercy and grace!

  • Something so simple as a children's song…"we are weak, but he is strong" AND IT IS SO TRUE. Sometimes we quickly forget how all encompassing his love for us is! Beautiful message :)

    • Steph_Lilac

      Wow! As a child you don't really realize what you're singing. Yes Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine…it all means so much now.

      • Rachel Nordgren

        Amen! The truths we receive as children often reveal their true worth until we're quite a bit older.

        • tina

          Yes they do….they really do….they truly make sense when we are older… praise God, they are the seeds sown in our hearts for such times as these….

  • joanne sher

    No matter how weak we are – no matter how short we fall – He loves us. He can use us. When we are weak, He is strong. And strength is made perfect in weakness.

    • AnnaLee

      How unfathomable is this? I've been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I don't need to figure it all out lately… That what the Lord has shown me, He's shown me, and that I need to trust Him with EVERYTHING to keep me from falling, even when I stumble. The truth that He loves me without a doubt, and that love has NOTHING to do with how strong, faithful, or eager and willing I am to follow/obey Him is truly mind blowing, and I don't think I'll ever understand or get over it (as well I shouldn't!). Praise you, Jesus. Help me, help us, to embrace you and your mighty love even when we can't fully fathom or understand these wonderful things.

  • stinav96

    "The same Peter who denied Christ three times is the one God used to help establish the early Church." Such a comfort!

    Lord, do not let me fall again and again into the same sins. But when I do, thank you for restoring me to fellowship with You and for using me to accomplish Your kingdom purposes despite myself. Be my strength, even before I get to the point of giving in to temptation to sin, and mature my faith, that I will be willing to die for Your name's sake, should that occasion ever arise. In Jesus' Name.

    • stinav96

      And I just found this: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32) This is at the beginning of the passage in Luke where Jesus foretells Peter's denial. I'm not sure what this makes my heart feel this morning…. brokenness? overwhelming joy? conviction? absolute thankfulness!

      • Rachel Nordgren

        I think it's alright to feel all the things! Peter was definitely tried and tested, and he failed a lot, as we just read. But! BUT! God STILL delighted in using Him and strengthening His faith. That should give us an awful lot of comfort!

      • AnnaLee

        It's definitely a mixture of those emotions. Lord, make me very aware of satan's schemes to sift me like wheat and have me! It makes my eyes water when I think of how Jesus, God himself, earnestly prays to the father that Peter, his beloved friend,'s father would not fail. I love how he adds "strengthen your brothers" to it; that while these tests will definitely be difficult, Jesus has prayed over them, and the tests will be used to help Peter strengthen his brothers, as Acts tells us the church will definitely need! Jesus is on our side– he's not some distant stranger, but is rather our ally and intercessor to the father, earnestly and lovingly seeking that We'd not fall and directing us to use these trials and tribulations to strengthen our brothers and sisters. Praise God for SRT, that all of us do just that!

    • drasch

      Amen!

    • Gema Muniz

      Amen!

  • What a great message! I put myself again and again in Peters spot and how motivating and moving is it to see how he literally turned down his BEST FRIEND and after all is said and done He comes back and selects Peter as the few to be able to see him and carry out HIS will. Jesus puts His plan into Peters arms. Cause who wouldn’t take that chance after all the bad you’ve done to Him? Great example to everyone

    • AnnaLee

      "Jesus puts His plan into Peter's arms." He knows us! He knows how prone we are to wonder and yet He lets us be apart of the glorious things He's doing and done. Praise you, father, for not giving up on us when you knew us deep down to the core! That instead, you met our vulnerability with long-suffering Agape Love.

  • These words that you ended with

    “When we are weak, He is strong. And He wants to use us in the great outworking of His plan for His glory!”

    That is what I cling to. When I am weak. Whenever I feel I can’t go on, whenever I’m tired and struggling. He is strong. He is sufficient, he eill give me all I need. Better than that he will continue to use me. He still has a plan for me. When I feel useless he still will use me for his glory.

    Thank you for Peters testimony as a real encouragement to us all.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen Claire. We look at ourselves and feel insufficient in every way, and that's because we are. But when we look at Christ, we see all we need– the strength to go on, what we need to do His will, the comfort and encouragement we need to again firmly root our identity in Him. This morning, I felt insufficient and less than a few people in my life. It only took a few moments to realize it was because I hadn't turned my face toward Jesus. Hoping that all of us turn our faces toward Him today. and PS, thank you for being such an encouragement and support! You are a huge blessing! Praise God, that he uses all of us so wonderfully for His glory despite ourselves! (not meaning that as a jab at you at all, its just a truth for all of us, haha). Be so blessed, sister. :)

    • Gema Muniz

      Amen, I feel the same way. Thank you God for your greatness!

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