Daily Devotional - 7 August 2020
“God gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” (James 4:6-10).
Yesterday, we left Peter deeply humiliated and ashamed of his disloyalty. He had expected more of himself. But in the midst of the monumental plot twist he had just experienced–the conquering Messiah had turned into a docile prisoner–Peter had been left thoroughly unhinged. This man who had declared with such certainty, “Even if everyone else deserts you, Jesus, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33) just hours earlier, found he couldn’t escape the room quick enough under Jesus’ knowing gaze as the rooster crowed, signalling Peter’s three-fold betrayal, “I don’t know him.” This must have felt like the end of the world for Peter, but those of us on this side of history see the fuller story. Peter had been thoroughly humbled–necessary preparation for him to lead The Way!
When Jesus had first called Peter to follow Him as one of His disciples, Peter’s response is quite humble, recognizing his unworthiness to serve the Messiah, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). But over the next three years of following Jesus, something changed. Peter, ever the most impetuous of the disciples, is first to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20); is the only one to ask Jesus to allow him to walk on water (Matthew 14:28); is quickest in his defence of Jesus, pulling out his sword in the garden (Luke 22:49-50); is loudest in his declaration of loyalty, “Even if everyone else deserts you, Jesus, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33).
And didn’t everyone know that Peter was one of Jesus’ favourites? He was part of Jesus’ inner circle enjoying a privileged position with James and John. And while James and John faced Jesus’ rebuke as the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17), Jesus had renamed Simon ‘Peter’ meaning ‘Rock’ (Matthew 16:18). Too, Jesus was always pulling him aside and including him in extra special moments–Peter was one who witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration and the visit by Moses and Elijah on the mountain (Mark 9:2-8); he was part of the small group invited to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37); and he was included in those Jesus wanted nearby when He suffered His time of great anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37).
Had pride begun to get in the way? Had Peter begun to rely too heavily on his own reputation, forgetting who it actually was that deserved full credit? When faced with how quickly he had caved under pressure–it had been easy to follow Jesus when everything was going according to Peter’s plan–he had become overcome with sorrow and deep grief. He was not the man he thought he was, hoped to be, wanted to portray to others. He was nothing without Jesus leading the way. This was a necessary revelation for Peter, for without it he may have continued to try to do things his own way, rather than Jesus’ Way...and never succeeded in completing the task that Jesus was setting before him. We know that after Jesus once again affirmed Peter in his call “to feed my sheep” (John 21), he goes on to become one of the leaders of the early Church–boldly owning his relationship with Jesus, allowing God to expand his ideas about who was to be included in His Kingdom and, yes, even martyred for his faith...all because of his relearned humility!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!