This coming Sunday, we’ll be looking at Peter’s denials of Jesus, specifically as outlined in John 18. It’s a record of extreme failure. I’ve found myself with a lot of energy as I’ve realized Peter was trying to do the right thing. He wasn’t just an idiot. I used to think that. I mean, come on, Jesus warned you about denying him, how hard was it to just say, “Yes, I do know Jesus, what’s it to you?”
No, Peter’s failure came because he was, as my friend Sarah Baldwin said a few weeks ago in worship, “so wonderfully passionate and heroic.” Peter really did get what Jesus said in chapter 13. He was ready to die, heroically and bravely, with Jesus. He drew his sword, ready to stand with Jesus and die like a good ol’ western hero, outnumbered and against impossible odds.
But Jesus told him to put away his sword. Jesus told him that even though he was trying to get it right, he had gotten it all wrong.
That must have been incredibly frustrating and confusing to Peter. His failure came in TWO ways…trying to heroically make a last stand when Jesus was ready to surrender and die, and then the failure of being afraid and not acknowledging Jesus. This, at least, is how I’ve been thinking about it this week.
How about you? What does the Spirit speak to you about John 18 and Peter’s failure? When have you tried to do the right thing, and heard the Spirit’s voice saying, “You’ve missed it entirely. Put the sword away”? I’d appreciate your comments.