Read John 18:15-18 and 25-27
15Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, 16but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17"You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, "I am not."
18It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
25As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?"
He denied it, saying, "I am not."
26One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?" 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (NIV)
In this part of John’s Gospel, we have Peter’s denial of Christ. Back at the end of chapter 13, Peter had told Jesus that he would lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus responded, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” And now, just after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denies being with Jesus three times. It is interesting that John does not include the part about Jesus weeping at the cock crowing. It is included in the other three Gospels.
As we grow in our faith, there are times we are tempted to deny our relationship with Jesus. Most of the time, the denial is so that we can conform to people we don’t want to look down at us. Other times in history it is to keep from being punished or even killed. But one thing we must remember in this story is that Peter is responding in his own will. He has not received the power of the Holy Spirit. He has not witnessed the resurrection. There is much that hasn’t happened to sustain his faith.
But each of us has to grow in our faith too. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit with us when we accept Christ, but we must learn to listen to the Spirit and trust in God’s promises. God does not condemn us as we learn to trust him. Much like a loving parent that is trying to teach their child right and wrong, when the child doesn’t get it right, we don’t kick them out and stop loving them, we help them to grow. God helps us to grow in our faith when we fail. That is what the much of the Bible is about. It is filled with stories of people who didn’t get it right at first, but continued and persevered in their faith. We see in these stories, even the giants of faith had early stumbles as they grew to trust in Christ.
How does it make you feel when your read about the people in the bible and see that their faith journey is not a straight line? Has does that compare to your faith journey? Did you have fits and starts in the early years and gain more confidence in after more years of testing your faith? Scripture calls for us to grow in our faith. They only way we can grow is that it is not perfect in the beginning. God recognizes this in us and helps us along the way and does not condemn us when we fail. To me this is wonderful attribute of God and helps me to grow and be more confident in my walk.
Blessings and Peace