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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Good Intentions

Mar. 16, 2014

Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29, NIV)

Have you ever hit a bad spot in your Christian walk? You didn’t see the black ice of adverse circumstances or temptation’s power? Your feet slipped out from under you. You fell hard.

That’s where we find Peter at this moment in his life. It has not been a good week for him, this last week before Jesus’ crucifixion. In the short space of 48 hours, Peter fails eight times. Remarkable!

On the Tuesday night of Jesus’ last week, the disciples protest indignantly about the woman who poured an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume on Jesus (Matthew 26:8). Since the word “disciples” is used without qualification, we can infer the protest involves all of them — including Peter.

His second misstep is on Thursday evening as Jesus prepares to eat the Last Supper with the disciples. Jesus begins by washing their feet. Peter vehemently protests that the Lord will never wash his feet. Peter’s protest comes as he realizes neither he nor any of the disciples had done the courtesy of offering to wash the Lord’s feet.

As the lead disciple who had heard Jesus teach on more than one occasion the greatest must be servant of all, Peter had failed to actualize the Lord’s teaching. (How many times do we know what the Lord wants us to do, but we also fail to do it?) The Lord provides a gentle retort that if He does not wash Peter’s feet, then Peter will have no part with Him. Peter then goes overboard with an opposite reaction and tells the Lord to wash his hands and head as well (John 13:8,9).

Peter’s third failure comes the same evening. Peter demonstrates he is unsure of his own commitment to Jesus; he asks, along with the other disciples, if he is the one who will betray the Lord (Mark 14:19). Peter instinctively knows a dormant potential lies within him to turn against Jesus.

But Peter plucks up his resolve a few hours later. After leaving the upper room and walking through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives, Peter switches 180 degrees. Whereas at the Last Supper he had asked, “Is it I?” now he is adamant he would never fall away — his fourth bungle.

Peter is ricocheting emotionally like a pinball. Even more erratic acts are to follow.

Number 5. Peter falls asleep three times when Jesus wanted company to pray with Him in Gethsemane (14:37-41).

Number 6. Peter takes out his sword in violation of Jesus’ orders to be nonviolent. Instead, Peter cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10). Jesus corrected Peter’s failure by reattaching the ear — a form of nonverbal rebuke to Peter.

Number 7. Peter deserts, along with all the other disciples, when Jesus is arrested (Mark 14:50). Despite his earlier braggadocio, Peter flees when the heat is on. His earlier good intentions melt like snow on a hot summer day.

Finally, and most grievously, Peter disowns Jesus altogether — three times (14:66-72).

The Bible does not cover up Peter’s failures, and that gives us hope; because despite Peter’s failures, the Lord loves him.

Would that there would never be a failure in your life, that you were never weak or vulnerable! That you would never give in to temptation or pressure! But sometimes, like Peter, we fall down hard. No failure need be permanent. The good news is Jesus extends grace to us also, even as He did to Peter!

A prayer of response

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your never-failing love.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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