Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When you read the story of how Peter denied knowing Jesus when that teenage girl taunted and ridiculed him, how do you feel? Do you tremble, or cry out with the Eleven, "Lord, is it I?" Or, cry out with John Wesley, "There but for the grace of God, go I."
Peter was sincere; he was horrified when he realized what he had done. In fact, both Matthew and Luke say he went out and "wept bitterly." In other words, he was heartbroken, and threw himself on the ground and wishing he could die. He felt totally unworthy to help in the cause of God.
When Judas realized what he had done, he also wished that he might die and he did--at his own hand. The Bible says that Judas "repented himself" (Matt. 27:3, KJV), but it was a sorrow for the awful consequences of his deed, not that heartbroken abhorrence for his sin. Peter came within a hair's breadth of sharing the fate of Judas; but his heart-sorrow turned into true repentance.
Why did Peter fail so miserably? What was his real problem? We need to understand or we too will fail in our time of severe test.
The story of Peter's tragic fall is linked with the story we read in Exodus 19:8 where Israel made the same kind of promise that Peter made when he promised that "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be" (Mark 14:29). Ancient Israel made the Old Covenant when they made their vain promise, "All that the Lord has spoken, we will do." Now their Old Covenant has finally come full circle in the apostle Peter's vain promise.
It's time that we learned our lesson after these thousands of years: our salvation does not depend on our making promises to God; it depends on our believing His promises to us. That's the New Covenant. And that's the only place where you will find any Good News!
--Robert J. Wieand
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 5, 2009.
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