Devotional Scripture: John 18:12-27
"Again Peter denied it, and at that moment, a rooster began to crow." - John 18:27
Have you ever intentionally betrayed someone?
I have. I'm not a saint. In my younger years, I betrayed someone I shouldn't have. The memory of it is still painful almost 40 years later.
Have you ever unintentionally betrayed someone?
Well, looking back on my life . . . the answer to that question is "yes" as well. Such is human nature. Such is our daily battle between choosing to react out of emotion or to respond out of careful and reasoned thought.
As I read todays's scripture, I cannot help but believe that Peter never intended to betray Jesus.
I have carefully read the Gospels many times, and as a result, I know and believe that Peter loved Jesus very much. Jesus was his friend. Peter was one of Jesus' inner circle of buddies.
Then . . . (there is always a "then" . . . or a "but" . . . or a "however" . . .)
-There was the unexpected confrontation with a angry crowd.
-There was the possible regret for lashing out against someone with a sword.
-Then Jesus was arrested.
Surely Peter was scared to death . . . in over his head.
We can't discount panic . . . probably about the fear of being exposed, surrounded by hostiles, even arrested himself. Peter saw that Jesus was being beaten and dragged around for being honest. He probably doubted how if could handle that.
This was not a time for reasoned thought . . . this was chaos . . . mayhem . . . a riot . . . in time of such as these, in such a high level of stress and conflict, he probably went into shock, or in the least his brain shifted to "fight or flight" mode.
I'm pretty confident my mind would have done the same thing.
Finally . . . I do think Peter was an older teen or a very young adult. Working on his father's fishing boat and three years with Jesus never, never prepared him for what he faced that evening.
Want to know something else I believe?
I think more people identify with Peter than any other disciple. Like Peter, when we find ourselves far outside our comfort zones, with the situation completely out of our control . . . we sometimes experience laspes in judgement and character . . . often to great regret.
For some people . . . the regret eventually takes over their lives.
In truth, we are challenged daily with many situations that test our Christian commitment and faith.
Will we pass all those tests? Probably not . . . but the knowlege of that should not keep us from trying.
Peter will get his second chance to "carry the ball." And he will redeem himself admirably in doing so.
We as well will get a second chance, as well as a third, fourth, fifth . . . tenth . . . or hundredth chance. That's the nature of a relationship with a God who loves us enough to offer us salvation through Jesus Christ.
Some of the things you may be sweeping to the side of your road to Easter this year may be reminders of past failings and betrayals of faith. Show them to God. Confess your failing and shortcoming. Get it off your chest. Then cast it away from you, to never to be thought about or remembered again! The forgiveness of God is that strong and that powerful!
The God we meet at Easter, is the God of the 2nd chance . . .
Such grace still amazes me . . . ><>