September 23 I Thursday
Song of Solomon 1-3
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).” —John 1:42
When we look at the Gospel records of Jesus’s disciples, Peter was always at the top of that list. We often read more about Peter than all the other disciples put together. Things like, “Then Peter spoke,” “Peter lifted up his voice and said,” or “Then answered Peter.” Peter was very bold in what he had to say, while at the same time, usually very wrong. That is a lethal combination: to be bold and wrong at the same time.
For example, when Jesus and His disciples were in Caesarea Philippi, He asked, “Who do you say I am?” Then Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” Afterwards Jesus told Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church...” (Matthew 16:15-18). Imagine when Peter heard those words; he was probably pretty pleased with himself.
But five verses later, in that same conversation in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus revealed to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. Peter rebuked Jesus saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” At which point, Jesus told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:21-23). While Peter was very bold in his discourse with Jesus, he was very wrong.
Peter was also the disciple that Jesus predicted would deny Him three times. Peter defended himself saying, “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You” (Matthew 26:35). Yet, Peter did deny Jesus three times. At the rooster’s crow, Peter remembered Jesus’s words and went away weeping bitterly.
In most of our lives God has to bring us to a place of tears, weakness and awareness of our failure because He works in weak people. When we do not know we are weak He has to expose that weakness to us. We may see failure as an enemy but failure is a gift because it throws us back into greater dependence upon God. Like Peter, there may be areas in our life where we failed in the Christian walk but it does not mean God cannot use us. At Pentecost, Peter spoke and 3,000 were converted. Failure is not a deficiency for us because it draws us to depend fully upon Him. Are we in a place of “failure” so we are able to depend on God?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that my weakness and awareness of failure are a reminder that You are the One I utterly depend on daily. Help me draw closer to You each day.