Archive for March 29th, 2007

Renewal

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 18:13-21, 25-27 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Christen Peters):

This is by its very nature the time each year that I think of rebirth. Aside from our Easter celebration of Christ’s triumph over death, nature itself is springing forth with renewed life. I don’t know, though, that I ever really stopped to really think about the dormancy and death that precede this new life. And I don’t know that I’ve ever really put Peter into my “new life” equation before now.

When looking at these passages, I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever dug deeper than what’s obvious. Christ said that Peter would deny him three times, Peter denied Christ three times, and bing-bam-boom that proves omnipotence.

But what put Peter where he was? Could I find myself in the same position? Have I found myself in the same position? Was this an isolated moment in time, but a time that Peter had been building up to for awhile? A look at Peter’s behavior prior to his denial of Christ shows character traits with which I am most uncomfortable in admitting that I see all too well in myself.

Peter was the first disciple to boast that he alone would never fall away or deny Christ. You’ve heard it said that “Pride goeth before a fall”, and I think Peter’s pride was perhaps the first step toward his denial of Christ. Pride alone surely wasn’t enough to turn this most ardent defender of Christ into a denier, though.

When asked to keep watch while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter slept instead. That could maybe be seen as a form of laziness in guarding his faith. How often have I failed to diligently practice those things that will keep me closest to God? How often have I not spent some time in Bible study, or not put real heart and soul into focused prayer time?

When Jesus is taken into custody, Peter follows at a distance — afraid, perhaps, for his own safety. How many times have I not prayed in public for fear of ridicule? How many times have I not engaged in conversation with a non-believer –- choosing the path of least resistance instead of the path of righteousness?

With Christ going through interrogation and degradation, Peter sits warming himself around a fire with the servants of the high priest. How many times have I chosen my own physical comfort and companionship that is of this world, rather than doing real good?

The result of these things for Peter was his repeated denial of Christ –- and the incredible remorse that resulted. But as we’ll see, Peter used his failings to fuel his rebirth and drive his mission throughout the remainder of his life.

Thought for the day: May God help me to honestly examine my own failings, and lead me to renewed life in this season of rebirth.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: the next semester of Discipleship Classes, which begin April 1. You might include in prayer both the students and class leaders.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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