Friday, August 2, 2013

desperate for grace

"My children, I will be with you only a little longer.  You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come."...
Simon Peter asked Him, "Lord, where are You going?"
Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow You now?  I will lay down my life for You."
Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for Me?  I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!"
John 13:33, 36-38
Can anyone else relate to Peter?  
So devoted.  So determined.  So living out loud.
Peter had already gone through the whole washing of the feet scene with Jesus.  Now Peter finds himself again in the hot seat, getting the record set straight by Jesus.
We mean it when we say it.  We want to follow our words with action.  For awhile, it actually happens.
Then the temptation comes.  We stand up against it, knowing our determination is more than enough to fight it off, when really we should be fleeing the scene.
Whether it is pride holding us there or, perhaps, selfishness, there we stand thinking that we have what it takes to prove that this whatever is not going to get the best of us.
Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
"You are not one of His disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, "I am not."
John 18:15-17
Strike one!
You regroup.  Caught off guard, you tell yourself.  That pull was a little more powerful than expected, but you know what to expect now.  No problem.  Still have the determination to stand there and fight against it.
Fleeing is not an option in your mind, because what would that prove?
Weakness.
As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of His disciples, are you?"
He denied it, saying, "I am not."
John 18:25
Strike two!
Now it is getting personal.  It is becoming a matter of your pride now.  You cannot back down now.  Others will know your weakness.  Surely, the battle is almost over...you can brush off the dust and stand against it a little while longer.
What is that saying?  Pride comes before what?
Oh, yes.
Now I remember.
A fall.
One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with Him in the olive grove?"
Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
John 18:26-27
Strike three!
You have blown it.
You know it.  Others know it.
Guilty as charged.
In desperate need of grace.
Defeat.  Embarrassment.  Anger.  Sadness.
The list could go on...and does.
Humbleness.  Confession.  Repentance.  Forgiveness.
Again, the list could go on...and does.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do your truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time He said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, "Do you love me?"  He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
John 21: 15-17
In the midst of our defeat, knowing full well we deserve absolutely nothing because of our sinfulness, Jesus extends forgiveness when we confess our sins to Him.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9
He took care of our sin on the cross.  This has not taken Him by surprise.  He is there for us as we pick ourselves up and try to figure out how to go on from here...still desperate for grace, more dependent upon His strength, and very deliberate in our next steps.

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