Today: Psalms 20; Matthew 26:69-75; Matthew 27:1-10; Exodus 9 & 10
Matthew 26 – Peter Denies Jesus
My heart really aches for Peter in this passage. He was scared and confused. But when the rooster crowed he immediately understood his mistake and he “wept bitterly.” (v.75) He had denied Jesus, his friend and teacher he loved. When Jesus had predicted Peter’s denial earlier that day, Peter had vehemently refuted Him. “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” he had promised only hours before. What agonizing shame Peter must have felt.
I understand Peter’s pain. I have denied Jesus in so many ways. Every time I love something more than Him, every time I stray from His perfect plan, I deny the sacrifice he made to save me.
Lately I’ve started practicing daily confession. It has been a very powerful practice. I begin my prayer time by thinking over the previous day and asking God to bring to mind any wrongs that I have done and then I confess them. I’m not asking God to forgive me because He has already forgiven me. I am confessing, acknowledging my denials of Jesus. I don’t HAVE to do this to be forgiven. I am already forgiven for every sin I could ever commit. The confession is for MY benefit. It reasserts the relationship between me, an imperfect fallen human, and my perfect Savior. It keeps me humble.
Often in my spirit, I see myself holding whatever it is in my hands, a black lump of sin, and offering it to Jesus. He takes it from me and then tosses it aside where it vanishes completely. And this is what really happens in the spirit realm. This is why confession can be so powerful. It is not an exercise of self condemnation but of cleansing, of recognizing Christ’s complete eternal salvation.
Many people refuse to come to Jesus because they think they have committed sins too terrible to be forgiven. They are too ashamed to ask God for relationship. But that is a lie. No transgression is too horrible to be erased by Jesus. Jesus’ forgiveness is available to ALL of us. No sin is more powerful than the all encompassing salvation of Christ.
I kinda feel sorry for the Egyptians during all the plagues. It is true that we will sometimes suffer for the sins of our leaders. It is the way of our cursed world. Those Egyptians must have been thinking, c’mon Pharaoh, just let the Israelites go already! Especially when they got the boils, OUCH!
Exodus 9:20 tells us that some of Pharaoh’s servants “feared the word of the LORD.” They knew what was up. In fact, I think part of God’s plan here was to wake up as many Egyptians as possible. I think God used these horrendous plagues to call many Egyptians to Himself. We learn in the next chapter that Moses and the Israelites were highly esteemed by many Egyptians and even Pharaoh’s servants. I believe they had recognized that the Israelite God was real. I wish it weren’t so, but hard times convert many more people to faith than good times ever did…