Sheepish

It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. John 18:18

Peter, who would one day proclaim the Gospel to thousands loudly and boldly, is warming himself by a fire. He feels the coldness on the inside as well. After denying the Savior the first time, it’s pretty safe to assume that there’s a lot of “self-talk” going on inside his head, knowing that others were bound to ask him the same question.

We are not at all unlike Peter. We say we won’t deny Him but our actions, and sometimes our inactions, tell a different story. We, like Peter, cower by a fire, hoping others don’t ask us anything that would require a bold answer.

Here’s the thing though. We have the Holy Spirit in us to make us as bold as Peter was after he saw the resurrected Christ. Ponder that statement for a second.

In fact, “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

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A Price to be Paid

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.” John 18:17

The servant girl who had just helped Peter get through the gate is asking this question. Chalk it up to not expecting the question or being caught off guard, but Peter lied. Blatantly.

At this point in the story we’re cheering Peter on because we ultimately know how the story ends, but we don’t want it to end that way. We’re pulling for Peter to get it right even though we’ve read the ending dozens of times. He’s got two shots to get it right!

The servant girl had obviously seen the parade of people march Jesus through the gates. It was an innocent question. Perhaps she was trying to put it all together in her own mind. Even if Peter had admitted it, the most she could have done was laugh, but that was not the case because Peter lied.

Fortunately we know the ending but it comes with pain and remorse. Lying and deceitfulness always does.

Thankfully, though, we have a forgiving Saviour.

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Moral Support

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 servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. John 18:15-16

John and Peter decided to follow the detachment of soldiers to where Jesus was being taken. John, the writer of this Gospel, obviously knew someone inside the courtyard, and used that influence to help Peter get inside. It happens in all cultures and societies. People use their influence to get things done, sometimes over things like John did. After all, it wasn’t as if John and Peter would be trying to break Jesus out of custody. They would witness what the guards would do to Jesus but would be helpless to do anything about it. I suspect their intention was to be there for “moral support” but as we’ll see a little later, that support ended in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction – that Peter would deny him three times.

We often encounter “moral support” situation, times when we need to do something rather than want to do it. For John and Peter it was certainly a mixed bag. On the one hand they would lend moral support to their friend and Savior. On the other hand, it would have been very painful watching someone they love get beaten and punished.

Our moral support is going to the kids’ baseball games, theater production, or band concerts. It’s visiting the nursing home long before the Christmas holiday. It’s visiting a friend in the hospital. The list can go on and on.

For any of those you could be doing something else but you’ve made the effort to be there. Fortunately for your loved ones, you’re the person that will always be there for the other person; it’s who you are and it’s who God has blessed you.

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See You Through

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people. John 18:12-14

In this scenario with the soldiers and Annas, who was in control? By outward appearances it seems like it’s those who have bound and are questioning him. Seriously, how difficult would it have been for Jesus Christ to command his own attachment of angels to break him free and incinerate those who thought they were in control? Very.

So he let them take him captive because, as he pointed out in the previous verse “shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”, he was in absolute control of the situation. He knew what He was doing; the Father knew what he was doing.

In the midst of whatever you are experiencing right now, He knows what He’s doing, despite what it looks like on the outside. Faith is trusting Him even when it looks and feels miserable.

On any given day hundreds read these posts, so among those hundreds are people whose lives are incredibly painful. You can’t see it right now but He’ll see you through. You’re in the midst of great darkness and you see absolutely no light at all. Cry out to Him, even if that’s what you’ve been doing all along.

He hears.

He knows.

He will see you through.

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Worth Saving?

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

Jesus asks Peter the ultimate rhetorical question (one that doesn’t need answered). In essence Jesus is saying, “Let it go, Peter. I need to do this!”

God the Father gave Jesus the Son a task and a burden. He accepted it willingly despite the fact that he could have called hosts of angels to rescue Him at a moment’s notice. At any stage in the leadin to the crucifixion and even on the cross He could have issued a command to end it.

But He didn’t.

So we’re left with another important and unanswerable question: why?

Sure we know that God so loved the world and all that, but why?

Why were we worth saving?

It, too, is rhetorical but the answer I suspect lies not in us but in Him.

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