A Prayer Prompted by John 21

Heavenly Father,

We look forward to enjoying eternity in your presence along with the risen Christ. Help us to be mindful that heaven is our real home.

For every way that we have denied Christ we ask your forgiveness. We also ask that, like Peter, we would be restored.  Make us capable of following through on our commitment to Christ regardless of the cost.

Help us also to encourage others in their faith even as Peter was required to feed and tend to Christ’s sheep. As we engage in that ministry of building others up, help us to avoid a competitive or comparing mindset and rather seek to faithfully serve you.

In Christ,
Amen

John 13 – Verse by Verse

John Pic

Omar Yamout walks us through John 13, in which Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Judas goes off to betray Jesus, while Jesus predicts Peter’s denials

John 13.mp3 (Omar Yamout)

Here is a link to the livestream video:

Betrayal, denial and following Jesus – from John 13

God forbid any of us should betray Jesus as Judas did. Honestly I’m not very sure what that would even look like today. Possibly, it could be someone doing the opposite of the Apostle Paul. He was an early persecutor of the church who later was converted and became an ardent follower of Christ. Today I can imagine someone following Jesus, serving him in what appears to be sincere, outward devotion encouraging others in a position of ministry. What if this person turns, if Satan enters him as he entered Judas, and then this public Christian turns and becomes a persecutor of the church? It could happen. Maybe someone knows of a story just like this. (I do not.) This would be just Judas-like enough to qualify as a complete betrayal.

More common by far are those who deny Jesus like Peter. Simon Peter was overconfident. He would have gladly laid down his life for his Lord – or so he imagined. Jesus knew better and told Peter he would deny him three times before the night was over. Many of us fit into this category. We’ve blown it when we had the perfect chance to resist temptation or make Jesus look good. Let’s face it, we sometimes find it hard not to go along with the world.

The church is full of Peters and most of us can identify with his weakness. Thank God that he uses weak servants, empowers them with his Spirit, and builds his church through their feeble yet God-infused ministries.

By God’s grace, most of us who follow Jesus do so with a modicum of faithfulness. Our lives give evidence of a modest amount of the fruit of his work. We exercise our mustard seed of faith. We donate our few loaves and fishes to the cause of feeding the multitudes. Someone wishes to see Jesus and we are happy to lead the way to the Savior. We figuratively (or literally, if need be) wash the feet of the saints. These little actions are the big ways that God furthers the kingdom.

One thing that stands out to me in this chapter is how little the other ten disciples could do to prevent the betrayal by Judas or Peter’ denials. As far as I can tell, they could do nothing. There are times when we all have to stand or fall on our own. Even following the crowd, in the end, becomes an individual decision. When that time comes, may we all be found faithful. Let us each take a few more steps today as we follow our Lord.

Peter’s faith in Matthew 26

Peter sure had a lot of faith in himself in this chapter, all of it unwarranted.  For example, what’s this?

33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

It’s probably always a bad idea to contradict Jesus.  He knows Peter better than Peter knows himself.

Peter is then among those who fall asleep in Gethsemane, after Jesus asked him to watch.  Jesus gets it right again.  He understands what is really going on.

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Then we have the infamous cutting off the ear of the High priest’s servant.  John is the one who names names in John 18:10.  The servant was Malchus, the ear-cutter was Peter.  Maybe he was trying to make up for falling asleep earlier by showing he was really going to take care of things now.  “I got this Lord.  Your back is safe with me.”

Then comes the actual denial at the end of the chapter.  Matthew explains that Peter denied Christ to not one but two (2) servant girls and then to some bystanders who pointed out that his accent gave him away.  He sounded like he was from Galilee, not Jerusalem.

Let’s all be glad that our faith is in Jesus and not in Peter and not in ourselves.  Left to ourselves, we and Peter have a lot in common.  Our behavior is erratic.  Our self-confidence is normally misplaced. 

When nobody is looking, we can deliver a pretty good boast. “I’ll never fall away.  I’m ready to die at your side.” When push comes to shove, servant girls and random bystanders are more than enough to intimidate us into denial.  “Who me?  You think I know that guy?  Sorry. Never met him.”

Wait, do I hear a rooster?