Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Change in Peter

Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away! ” “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times! ” “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You! ” And all the disciples said the same thing. Matthew 26:33-35

We know what happens, Peter denies knowledge of knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Peter was willing to follow Jesus, but when confronted with the possibility of death, he had not decided to surrender his life yet. Matthew 26:75 says, "and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly."

Approximately three years Peter lived life, learned, broke bread, and witnessed many miracles while with Jesus. When things got hard or scary, Peter was crushed by the fear of the possibility of receiving the same punishment Christ was facing.

What is Peter's response? Peter "wept." It is possible he replayed the three encounters in his head many times. Peter acknowledged his sin.

Peter understood the grace which was imparted by Jesus' blood, therefore Peter did not dwell too long on the sin he committed by denying Christ. He overcame this and began to live in Christ.

I believe this is pivotal in the faith of Peter. Peter left his job and family and followed Jesus. He lived three years with the Savior of the world, learning and witnessing straight from the founder of our faith. Witnessed Jesus' arrest, denied Him publicly and watched him die on the cross. In Acts 1, Peter encounters the resurrected Christ and receives the Holy Spirit.

About 40-43 days after the death and resurrection of Christ, Peter changed dramatically from the undecided and fearful to the sold out and willing to die for his faith in the Son of God.

The change is real. This change we see in Peter is both in action and word. We see an amazing passion that overflows from Peter, which is Christ in Him and lives are changed! Peter stands before many and preaches the gospel in Acts 2 with no fear of the outcome. In this chapter it notes 3,000 surrendered their lives to Christ. Peter's life was completely changed and so were 3,000 others!

Sometimes I wonder if more people had the same passion for Christ as Peter did, if revival would go out from our houses of worship and spill over into our communities. I think the only way for this passion to arise is for you and I to really surrender our lives to Him.

In God's word, we are encouraged by Peter and he says, "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,"1 Peter 3:15. This word tell us Peter was now encouraging others to rise to the occasion when questioned about our faith, instead of retracting and denying Him. Another example of how Peter's life was completely changed!

The change is Jesus Christ. Only Christ brings the peace Peter received after denying Him. Acknowledgement of sin and turning his life completely over to Christ, no matter the outcome -- including death.

Are you passionately living for Christ and telling others about how He changed your life?

I am reminded of the old song,
"...I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back..."

Have you allowed the gospel of Jesus Christ to completely change your life? Have you not only followed Christ, but realized you must surrender your life even if it means death?


No comments: