Today’s reading is from Matthew 26:31-35.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
We all have days where we are like Peter in this scripture. So confident in ourselves, our faith and at the same time so blind in our own shortcomings, sins, and insecurities. Maybe you find yourself operating in this mindset most of the time. Then something comes along – an unexpected tragedy, a major disappointment, a shocking setback – and you find yourself denying your faith, in some way or another.
We often don’t realize we are denying Christ as Lord until after we have committed the denial. It might be that we choose to numb ourselves with something superficial instead of laying our troubles at the feet of Jesus. Or we may let an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone because we are too proud, too scared to be vulnerable, or too wrapped up in maintaining our image with that person.
The good news for us is that Jesus already redeemed these denials when He died on the cross. To feel the benefits of that redemption, we have to be in relationship with Jesus. Yes, that means we have to admit our failures through confession and repentance. This is not a one and done situation. If you’re anything like me, this act of atonement needs to happen daily.
At the end of each day, we should each take time to reflect. How did we let ourselves get in the way of the work God wants to do in our lives? How did we deny Him? For what do we need forgiveness?
This is a prayer that I prayed growing up in the Lutheran church and I offer it to you as a model. Of course, you should include specifics in your prayer so maybe this can be a jumping off point for you in your daily conversation with God:
Most Merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We thank you for the mercy that you have shown to us in your Son Jesus Christ. Teach us to come to him with our weaknesses and sins, trusting in the promise of your grace. Create in us clean hearts, by taking away our sin, and give us the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.