40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 35

Mark 14:31  “Peter kept saying insistently to Jesus, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And all the other disciples were saying the same thing, too.”

Peter’s denial of Jesus is infamous, especially in light of the bravado he expressed on the Mount of Olives. He promised to die with Christ, if necessary. Yet, within hours he cursed and swore and denied any association with Christ. Within hours!

We like to roll our eyes when we think of Peter. He’s always over-promising and under-delivering. He speaks before he thinks. He likes to sound courageous, even if it’s hollow bravery.

PeterBut I’m ever so glad for Peter.

I’m not impressed by his fickle faith. But then, mine is often just as fickle. His superficiality, at times, is less than inspiring. But so is mine.

What I love about Peter is the work of God in his life.

I don’t doubt that Peter meant what he said in the moment — “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” I have no reason to think he was less than sincere. I imagine he fully intended to stand for Christ, come what may. But in the moment of crisis, the moment of confrontation, the moment of testing, he dropped the ball. That probably makes him the patron saint for many of us.

We have no intentions of hypocrisy, duplicity, or failure. We do, in fact, love Christ. But we struggle to stand by our declarations at times. In a moment of crisis, backed into a corner, we cave in. Sometimes, in moments of apathy, we simply drift from our earlier resolve. Either way, Peter’s story speaks powerfully to us because the grace of Christ surpasses the disgrace of man.

As we look ahead to the Book of Acts, Peter stands tall. Christ did not abandon Peter. On the contrary, He restored him.

We all have days of self-disappointment; times when we feel ashamed of ourselves for the shallow faith we seem to have; seasons when we wish we had greater resolve, greater strength, or greater courage. Failures of faith are common, but so are the gifts of grace.

On this Monday of Holy Week, receive His grace afresh. Throughout the day — even now — pause and take some deep breaths with gratitude to Christ. Lay aside your guilt, shame, disappointment, or failure. Make no promises. Trust Him. Simply receive His forgiveness and the fresh start that comes with it.

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