Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. Matthew 26:33-35 (New King James Version)
Have you ever wondered how Peter ended up warming his hands by the enemy’s fire? Hewas suffering from a strong case of denial. Spiritual denial can be described as when God and others are able to see things that are wrong in our lives but we fail or refuse to see them for ourselves. How can we tell that Peter was in denial? First of all, examine his dialogue with Jesus. He says the code words for denial, “I will never.”
One is well on their way to denial when they make declarations that they cannot back up. There have been times in my life that I have told God and others what I would never do and ended up doing just that. It should be pointed out as well that denial does not occur all at once, it is a consistent decline in our behavior that leads to the final stages. Consider the degrees of denial.
Stage one is when “one’s flesh rules over one’s faith.” Notice verses 36-40. Peter was invited to a prayer meeting but he did not pray. One of the misconceptions surrounding denial is that we think that we must be distant from the church to experience denial; many of us experience it while we are in worship. Peter had allowed his outer circumstances to determine his inner decisions. He was tired and could not stay awake. Tiredness represents the repercussions of what the world dispenses to the child of God. Although we are tired on the outside, we should never cease to pray from the inside.
Stage Two in Peter’s denial was when he “exercised fear over the facts.” Verses 51-56 reveal to us that Peter was fighting against the truth. He used his small sword to fight against the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus points out to all who were in attendance that the crowd coming to get him was the fulfillment of the scriptures. Why is Peter fighting against what scripture said was going to occur? Too many times in our lives, we try to fight in our own strength against what God’s Word has told us not to do. Peter cut off the man’s ear and Jesus restored it back to normal. Aren’t you glad today that Jesus fixes the messes that we create? Make sure to thank God this week for putting up with our mess!
Pastor Richard L. Curry, Jr.
Senior Pastor, True Tried Missionary Baptist Church