We all know someone who has been a Christian and then denied the faith and walked away.
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him…And he went outside and wept bitterly” Luke 22:60-62.
When Rembrandt painted “Raising of the cross” in 1633, he painted himself into the picture at the foot of the cross. By this he was saying that his sins, too, put Jesus on the cross.
As we think about Jesus’ encounters with Peter this month, certainly the most bitter one was around his profession of loyalty: “…he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me” Luke 22:33,34. What a shock for Peter to hear that from the Lord! But only a few verses later, he did just that around the fire as Jesus was undergoing trial. “Peter replied, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him…And he went outside and wept bitterly” Luke22:60-62.
What a dagger to his heart for Jesus to look straight at him! To realize that he was actually not prepared to go to prison or die with Him. He had denied.
We all know someone who has been a Christian and then denied the faith and walked away. I was talking last week with a friend who has kept a friendship with a man who used to teach Christian thought and now is a Buddhist. These kinds of things bring us sorrow. But isn’t this in some way true of all of us at times in our spiritual experience? We can move from boldness to sin very quickly. Relationship with Christ is very personal – it is based on love and grace – so when we are disloyal and think about it, it brings us guilt. Maybe you are reading this today and this is true of you. Our culture isn’t very good with guilt these days – we are habitually told to blame someone else: parents, teachers, bad people – and so we never deal with our own sinfulness – we wallow in limbo.
Maybe it is time to embrace your own guilt before the Lord. After all there is no forgiveness for someone who doesn’t think they need it! And don’t forget to read the blog next week to be reminded of the grace and forgiveness of God!
Don’t miss the latest Encounter podcast with Dave Hearn. We had a great discussion about the fulfillment of the Christian life over the long haul. Just go to the CAC website, click ‘resources’, then ‘podcasts’ and have a listen.
We are ramping up our preparations to head to Israel next June. If you are interested, send me an email at email@example.com
Pastor Leon Throness