A Failure of Nerve

Mark 14:66-72 

gpsblogHave you ever wondered why all four gospels would tell the story of Peter denying Jesus. We’re used to a notable person’s rivals telling negative stories to shame that person. But Peter was a leader among the early Christians, so this wasn’t told with malice. No doubt he told this story himself, offering all of us the hope and renewal he’d found.

  • In Luke 9:26, Jesus called us to take up our cross. He added, “If any of you are ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes.” What are some ways in which you could be ashamed of Jesus in your daily life? Do you see a difference between being ashamed of Jesus and being tactful or tolerant?
  • When the rooster crowed, awakening Peter to what he had done, “he broke down and wept.” Have you learned and felt the difference between a) destructive guilt, shame and self-hatred, and b) the healing, cleansing power of God-given sorrow over a failure to be the person God is calling you to be?

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Yesterday we pointed out the courage Peter had in following Jesus to the High Priests home, but today when confronted, his boldness in following transforms into  soul melting rejection.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to talk much about this, not here and likely not to you. No offense, but I choose my confessors very carefully. This past week in one of our small groups when asked whom people identify with in the story of Jesus, Barabbas an Pilate (next weeks GPS!) there was a fair time of silence… then one person said, “I just don’t want to go there,” and I knew just how she felt!

Suffice it to say I, and I am certain each Christ follower, has had a moment where we were ashamed of Jesus, or rejected Jesus to “protect” our worldly reputation, to do what we wanted or to get our own way, when it seemed best to us.
Image1If it helps you to understand how I personally feel about this, one of my favorite Christian symbols is the rooster. The rooster, (the cock crowing in our reading) reminds me of the fine line between confession and rejection.  It also reminds me of what the GPS calls the “the healing, cleansing power of God-given sorrow”.  Peter, could have let his failure crush him, but in the resurrection, there was restoration, there was forgiveness. Peter went from failure to the “rock” on which the church is built.

When I read this story of Peter’s failings, I can beat myself up for my own, but more importantly I need to remind myself that God can, and does, raise past failures up to build something solid and life-giving!

I am in the process of becoming who I already am in my baptism into Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God!

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