Monday, August 2, 2010

“Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!”

Mark 14:27-31 NLT  
     27 On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
     ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
     28 But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
     29 Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”   
     30  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
     31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.

Oue dear brother Peter-- God bless him! In the face of confusion, challenged, he lets his bravado speak ahead of where his mind and faith really were at that moment. Peter and the early disciples did not have the testimony of history from New Testament Scripture, spiritual mentors and the examples of generations of faithful Christ followers to help their faith be strong. They were working it out on the fly as they went. The Holy Spirit had not yet come to become one with them. No one had explained the Messiah to them in ways that matched what Jesus was explaining, teaching, and demonstrating. Confused, Peter makes another brave promise knowing that all eyes were upon him, and knowing the outrageous thing the Lord had just said to them all. He was to be crucified! And all of them were to desert Him? Peter could not let that statement go unchallenged. How unfortunate it was to be that Peter would be the first to publicly deny Christ-- though they all denied Him in many other, albeit quiet, ways. Jesus didn't accuse or condemn Peter, but simply let him know how his denial would take shape.

We are not unlike Peter. We make promises to our Lord too. Do we live them out. Do we remember to be faithful witnesses of Him, as we promised we would? When we declared Him to be Lord, do we remember to obey Him as "Lord?" Are we faithful with the promises to serve Him? When we understand His call upon our lives for specific things that might be uncomfortable, do we 'deny ourselves and follow Him?'  Do we embrace true humility, as He embraced it or do we hang out somewhere near the circle of pride and self-will?

Many are saying we are getting nearer to Christ's return and calling us all to be with Him as He winds up the story of rebellion on our planet. He once told stories to His followers and to us, about servants,upon the Master's return,  needing to be found doing what the Master had directed them to do. How about us today? Do you think we need to be more obedient and engaged in God's call upon us as Christ's disciple makers? Have you begun? Today would be a fine day to begin, would it not?

Your Servant,
Dan Elliott

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