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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


Knows Us Best, Loves Us Most

Mar. 23, 2014

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today — yes, tonight — before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. (Mark 14:30,31, NIV)

Does Jesus know in advance when we are going to fail Him? From His words to Peter, we know the answer is “Yes.” He also knows exactly how we are going to fail, just as He did with Peter.

Life brings to us hard circumstances and temptations. We don’t always do the right thing. We need to be careful we don’t pretend we are better than Peter. We have the same arrogance as Peter if we say, “Well, had I been Peter I would not have failed the Lord.”

When we posture ourselves as better than others — more spiritual, more committed, more gifted — the Lord will have a hard lesson for us even as He had for Peter. Better to not be cocky. We are clay vessels, and sometimes the Lord has to use a hammer and break us in pieces so He can remold us.

Jesus obviously loved Peter. He made him His lead disciple — always the first one listed in the enumeration of the Twelve. But the greater the privilege, the greater the need for humility. If an arrogant angel got tossed out of heaven, as did Lucifer, then it’s impermissible for a follower of Jesus to elevate his or her level of commitment to Jesus above that of others.

Jesus even emphasized Peter’s coming failure by using the reflexive pronoun “you yourself will disown me.” He could have simply said “you.” But the use of the reflexive pronoun makes Jesus’ pronouncement emphatic to Peter. It carries the meaning, “you, and no other.”

Jesus’ love particularizes — it focuses on us personally; but His discipline also particularizes. He singles us out from the group with an individual word — sometimes He speaks words of correction and sadness over our misbehavior or lack of love for Him. We don’t want to grieve Jesus any more than Peter did; but the fact is that we too fail. We’re not better than Peter. The good news is that Jesus will use our failure to make us a more perfect follower.

But let’s also recognize that every one of the disciples said the same thing, “We will never disown you.” Earlier in the evening they had been more honest. At the Last Supper, Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him, and they all said, “Surely not I?” (Mark 14:19). Now, on the Mount of Olives, they have transitioned to certainty. They’re no longer asking, “Surely not I?” Instead they are saying, “I will never disown you.” They have moved from doubting themselves to falsely reassuring themselves.

The lesson for us is to recognize that only the Lord’s grace and love save us. He knew the disciples better than anyone else. He knows us better than anyone else. The miracle is that He moves toward us rather than away from us or against us. We, like the disciples, are held secure because He loves us and died for us.

Even though the disciples shortly after their adamant declaration of loyalty will indeed disown Jesus by fleeing when Judas arrives with a mob to arrest Him, He does not disown them. That’s the breathlessness of wonder we should feel at the marvelous grace of our loving Lord; grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, my failures don’t catch You by surprise. Thank You for loving me nevertheless.

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


On Your Mark

Previous Years

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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