Today my attention fixes on Peter.
In our reading in Matthew 26 we have the story of the anointing at Bethany, Judas’ betrayal, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the arrest of Jesus, and Jesus going before the Sanhedrin. Lots going on. I think about Judas, and how even after the betrayal Jesus calls him “friend”. I ponder the love that that woman at Bethany showed when she lavished her cherished perfume on Jesus. But I keep coming back to Peter. It’s as if he just demands attention. It’s just his nature.
I compare the Peter I see in Matthew 26 with the Peter I see in Acts 3. They are both bold and spunky. But they are very, very different. The Peter in Matthew 26 has a lot to learn, the hard way. Jesus tells him that he will betray him three times before the rooster crows. Peter is indignant. He swears that he would never betray Jesus. Maybe others will, be he will not. No indeedy, not him. Not ever. Pretty bold. Pretty confident. That’s good, right? Well, no. Why not? Well, first of all, we should never doubt what Jesus says! And second of all, Peter was arrogant and relying on his own power. Not good. Fast forward a few hours, and Peter denies Jesus three times, just as Jesus foretold.
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I have been there, haven’t you?
The Peter in Acts 3 is still bold. But it’s different. He has received the Holy Spirit. He acknowledges that it’s God’s power working through him that does great things. Big difference. After healing the man who was lame from birth in Jesus’ name,
11 …all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 […] 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Sometimes we need to be humbled. God needs to show us that everything, all our abilities, come from Him. We can do nothing on our own. It truly does change our perspective on ourselves and others.
Lord, I thank you for everything you have given me. Remind me, gently please, that everything I have, all my abilities, all my power, is from you.