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The Denial of a Devout Disciple – a blog post

March 2, 2018

Is there any situation that could come up in life where you would openly deny that you know Jesus Christ? A life or death situation? To protect someone else? In some other situation? Until we are truly put to the test, I suppose we really don’t know how we would react.

One that was bold about the fact that he would never deny he knew Jesus Christ was the Apostle Peter. Even after Jesus told him that He would deny Him three times in one night, Peter proclaimed there was no way he would ever deny knowing Christ. Yet, Peter did just as Jesus predicted and denied Christ three times.

How did Peter go from being one of the very first apostles called, the first name listed on many lists of the apostles, to this? He brought Jesus in to heal his mother-in-law, was the subject Jesus was speaking to when He said “upon this rock, I will build my church”. He even briefly walked on water, for crying out loud!

Peter wasn’t perfect. He challenged Jesus on how many times we should forgive those who have wronged us. He rebuked Jesus when He proclaimed He would be killed and raised on the third day. He was the one who didn’t have faith enough to cast out a demon at Jesus’ instruction, one who fell into a deep sleep while Jesus was praying at Gethsemane, and was bold about saying there was no way Jesus would be the one to wash his feet.

Peter was a bold witness for Christ, an outspoken apostle, and what could be termed as the first pastor of the New Testament Church. Still, he was flawed. He had a belief problem – when he challenged Jesus he was basically saying he knew more than Jesus. He had a trust problem – challenging Jesus on what He said more than once. He had a pride problem – in his assertion that he would never deny Christ, he effectively proclaimed himself above the other apostles. He had an identity problem – when he was challenged, He denied he knew Jesus at crucial moments. He had an authority problem – challenging Jesus on several occasions.

God uses the frailties and the fallen-ness of His children to demonstrate the grace and glory of a merciful God. Peter was a great example of that. For all of his problems, Peter was staunch in his acknowledgement of Christ, and his faith was genuine and authentic.

Even Peter’s problems had a purpose. Jesus said in Luke 22:31-32, 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

From this we can see the benefits of authentic faith. Authentic faith doesn’t mean it’s perfect, unflawed, or immune from attacks, but it does stand the test of time. Peter’s certainly did.

  1. Authentic faith will not fail – upon the realization that he had denied Christ for the third time, just as Jesus predicted, Peter was broken and “wept bitterly”. This seems sure to be an indication of true repentance. His faith may have been shaken, but it endured.
  2. Authentic faith is in the hand of the Potter – Satan demanded to sift Peter like wheat, and even amid his denial, Jesus PRAYED for Peter. Can you think of any bigger indicator of Jesus’ desire for Peter to remain firmly in the palm of the hand of the Potter?
  3. Authentic faith strengthens others it touches – Jesus said to Peter, “when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. Jesus intended Peter to use his failure to not only draw closer to a loving Savior, but also to help others who may be going through similar struggles.

Peter was not defined by his failures, but by his Savior. If you know Christ, that is how you are defined as well. Do not let your failures define you – Christ has the final word.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church – Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts

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