The Apostle Peter missed the crucifixion.
Doesn’t that seem rather odd?
Peter had walked on water (Matthew 14:29), saw Jesus transfigured (Matthew 17:1-4) and testified Jesus to be the Son of God (Matthew 16:16). Simon Peter had paid Jesus’ temple tax (Matthew 17:27) and stood nearby when Jesus raised a little girl from the dead (Luke 8:51). In fact, Peter’s name is mentioned more than any other disciple in the gospels. After all, he was one of Jesus’ inner three.
But, he was also the very one targeted for the pitchfork of the evil one.
Yes, Satan “demanded permission to sift” Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31). Of course, Peter resolutely rejected this idea. His experiences with Jesus were too many. Simon’s love for Christ too strong (Luke 22:33).
Peter even rallied in the garden. He is the only one mentioned having a sword with him at the last prayer meeting. But evidently, the fisherman in him wasn’t very skilled at fencing. Peter missed the target and grazed an ear instead (John 18:10).
In the end, all of Peter’s boasting fizzled over a few simple questions. He denied knowing the very Man he had vowed to protect (Luke 22:54-60) and to top it off, the Lord caught him in the midst of it. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter (Luke 22:61). How humiliating.
So Peter stumbled out and did what I would do: “wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). These two Greek words gives us insight as to the depths of his despair. Klaiō (wept) was most often used as a mourning or lament used over the dead, while pikrōs (bitterly) was filled with a poignant sense of regret. This second word is used only twice in the Bible – both in reference to Peter.
No, Peter wasn’t nearby at the crucifixion. He didn’t have to watch the ordeal to know intense grief. He was humiliated and realized that all of his boasting had proved worthless. He had failed.
But, from God’s perspective, this wasn’t considered failure. Before he could receive a faith “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7), Peter had to walk through the darkest hour of his life. Jesus “turned to look at Peter” with sorrow for Peter because He knew the pain Simon would have to endure before he could have steadfast faith (Luke 22:32).
And when the Lord rose again, He went specifically to Peter. Jesus wanted to let him know everything between them was still okay (Luke 24:34). Isn’t that amazing?
Sometimes, our flesh and our heart have to fail in order for us to realize Who is really our strength (Psalm 73:26). We have to be pierced with His word before we can truly do that for which we have been called (Psalm 73:21, 1 Peter 4:1).
But the One who reveals our faithlessness doesn’t forsake us (Jeremiah 3:12). His conviction restores. He takes us through the valley of shadows so He can reveal true purpose for us.
You too may feel that you didn’t deserve for Him to die for you. But, your feelings didn’t stop Him (Romans 5:6). In fact, He is still praying for you anyway (Hebrews 7:25). Don’t miss His resurrection life – He is alive and waiting just for you (Revelation 3:20).
Above photography by Sara Jeng Grewar. Follow her on Instagram!
I think that this must have been my mother’s mantra. When I whined about doing something I didn’t want to do, she most often found a way to slip this into the conversation. “Don’t forget the Golden Rule,” she would remind.
So as an adult, I’m often reminded to think through how I want to be treated before acting on my impulses. I carry it out pretty well with my neighbors and do a decent job in the grocery line. I can be fairly polite to the lady behind the pharmacy counter and I’m usually patient with the guy serving me at the restaurant.
But for some reason, I found my real break-down at home.
My very, own husband.
Yep. The flames of marriage seem to tarnish the Golden Rule. Why is that?
I’ve come up with at least three good reasons:
The truth of who I really am is uncovered at home.
Random acts of kindness may impress strangers, but just look like spasmodic blips to my spouse. After all, “when self is in charge of the control, I don’t have much self-control” (Hungry For More: Feasting through the Word, p. 29).
Marriage must be more than erratic nice deeds. My commitment to Mark takes a systematic determination of my will, not a sudden flush of good feelings. He knows me too well for that. Forgiving a spouse involves regular face-to-face meetings with the Ultimate Forgiver.
I’ve been influenced by society’s remake of the Golden Rule. In essence: “Walking the second mile for others is praise-worthy; walking the second mile for a husband is demeaning.
This is just another of satan’s rebellious lies. “It is necessary to be in subjection” (Romans 13:5). For men, for women, for citizens, and for children. Even Christ Himself “will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
I must raise up my shield of faith to extinguish these lies, in all their forms (Ephesians 6:16). Yielding to my husband teaches me how to submit to my God. This is one of His many truths that frees me (John 8:32).
I don’t want to endure the heat to form the gold.
This rule is golden because it is tested through fire. And only the hottest fires produce the most precious metal.
By it’s very composition, marriage causes sparks. Sometimes, it ignites passion. Sometimes, anger.
Anytime you rub two metals together, you are going to get heat. In marriage, we are the two alloys that first kindle the flame, and then must submit ourselves to the fire we ignited. It takes a hot fire to meld together a strong home.
When I am willing to “do unto Mark as I want him to do unto me”, then the Golden Rule is revealed for just how precious it truly is.