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A Midweek Devotional - Denial


This week in our journey through Scripture we come to Mark 13-16. It is the account of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, death, burial…and resurrection. It is the outworking and fulfillment (unfolding) of God’s gracious promise to send a Redeemer who defeats our enemies of Satan, sin, and death. As I read through these chapters once again, two points, in particular, catch my attention. One is the silent resolve of Jesus. He doesn’t lash out to defend Himself. He simply trusts in the plan of the Father and rests in His relationship with Him. That realization makes it all the more poignant when we see that the one time He does cry out is when He experiences a break in that relationship (15:34)…a rift that we caused but that He bore. Secondly, though, I am seeing Peter’s denial in a new light. So as we do a deeper, more focused dive, I’d like to look there.

Wednesday, August 25th

Larger Portion of Scripture - Mark 13-16

Focused Passage for Reflection - Mark 14:26-31

Reflecting on the Text:

I’ve read it before. You’ve likely read it or heard it yourself. We know the storyline. Jesus told Peter he would deny Him. Peter denied that he would deny…and then he did it. Just as Jesus said he would. But sometimes the familiarity causes us to miss important details. Yet this time the Lord is showing me something new. And it terrifies me. He is showing me Peter’s subtle pride.

Jesus warned them all, but Peter was the one who spoke up. It was always Peter. But this time I am seeing his words with fresh eyes. Peter said, “THEY may fall away, but not ME. I’ll be with you to the end!” Do you see it? Peter was not merely saying that he’d remain steadfast. He was saying he was better than all the rest of them. And Peter not only said it, he believed it.

But Jesus told him what would happen. And it did, just like He said it would. You can read that part of the story in Mark 14:66-72. Peter denied knowing Jesus, three times. Peter’s resolve couldn’t protect him from falling. Maybe it was because he was trusting in his resolve. Rather than humbly and dependently leaning into Jesus, Peter asserted that he was better than the rest. He could handle the pressure.

So Jesus let him fall. He even highlighted the fall…not to shame him, but to release him. Jesus was releasing Peter from his own resolve. And then, Jesus restored him, which just might have been the point all along.

I see it in me. Do you see it in you? Subtle pride that says I can trust in my own resolve. THEY may fall away, but not ME. I trust in my response. I see it and it terrifies me. But praise the Lord, Peter's fall was not the end. The end, which God had already ordained, would come through resurrection, reconciliation, restoration. The end brings with it a move to humility and a transfer of trust. The end brings glory to Jesus. The end brings joy.

Again, I see it, and it drives me to prayer. Will you join me?

Lord Jesus, I am prone to subtle pride. I am prone to trust in my own response rather than to depend on your Spirit. Forgive me of my shallow attempts at steadfastness. Strengthen me against trusting in my own strength and grant me the humility to depend on you. When the world challenges me and my relationship with you, hold me up. And when I fall, will you pick me back up? Through it all, give me less of me, and more of you. Amen

Questions for personal reflection:

  • In what ways are you trusting in the strength of your response more than in the power of God?

  • What might it look like for you to repent of this self-trust and to lean into Jesus by faith?

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