Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Peter: Faith or Failure?

It's easy to focus in on Peter as I read the account of Jesus' final days here on earth. He'd be a big part of the media coverage today, don't you think? Peter was Jesus' right hand guy. His faith in Jesus enabled him to walk on water. At the last supper, he was bold in declaring his unwavering commitment to Jesus. And wasn't it Peter who drew his sword and sliced the ear off of the guard who falsely arrested Jesus? The cameras certainly would have been clamoring to get footage of this disciple.

Needless to say, they would have been just as quick to plaster his face all over the place declaring his apparent hypocrisy. Peter was one of the few Jesus asked to stay awake and pray with him before his arrest... only his weary eyes and body won out over his bold speech. I could envision the major television networks battling to air the footage of his betrayal not only once... but rather three times. If these moments in history were recorded today, we would flip through the channels hard pressed to find reports of his walk-on-water faith. Every station would replay the moment Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.

Should our focus be on Peter's faith or failures? I always remember being taught that Peter was able to walk on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. He began to sink when he took his eyes off of Christ. It seems that Peter's boldness and confidence was present whenever he was close to his Lord. Without hesitancy, he proclaimed his loyalty. He was quick to defend Jesus in the garden. When he wasn't near to Jesus, however, Peter denied knowing Him. His failures were highlighted and his faithfulness dwindled when his eyes were off of Christ.

This is the pattern in my own life as well. When my eyes are on Jesus and I'm reading the Bible, praying, attending church, and having conversations with other devoted Christ-followers, I am bold and confident in following hard after God. As this world starts to get the better of me and commitments overtake my life, my loyalty diminishes. Fear replaces conviction and soon I find myself timid and struggling to make it in my own strength.

As we approach the foot of the cross, I need to be reminded of the power Jesus gives us. He was broken so we could have hope. He gave up everything to have a relationship with me; with you. This holy week keeps the cross at the forefront of our minds. As it does, let us remember Peter and the example he gave in the power and bold confidence we can have with Jesus by our side.

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