Translated by Allan Liang
The four gospels all record Peter’s denial of Jesus three times, indicating that this is an important warning given to us by the Lord. From the outward failures, Judas and Peter were very alike. However, Judas died in his sins, and even until death, did not seek Jesus for help, not knowing at all Jesus to be God, to which the natural consequence is eternal perishment. The biggest lesson that we learn from Judas is that he thought his judgments were correct, and did not listen to Jesus’ teachings; may the Lord help us see that Judas is often alive in our lives, which was very clearly explained by our Pastor in the Sunday sermon yesterday. (see sermon on June 21st 2020 for Chinese sermon on the youtube channel fcnabcvideos) In the Scriptures of today’s sharing, the Lord Jesus told Peter, using the book of Zechariah which he was familiar with, and prophesied that he would enter Jerusalem, the 12 disciples would forsake him, the shepherd would be struck and the sheep would be scattered (Zechariah 9:9, 13:7). The angel that sat beside the grave after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, mentioned once again the promise of verse 28, and hinted that Peter denied the Lord, but the Lord especially cared for him (Mark 16:7). The Lord Jesus clearly prophesied that after the rooster crowed twice, Peter would deny the Lord three times; evidently Jesus possessed supernatural abilities, and could foretell individual events in the future. From his divine nature, he was all knowing, and from his human nature, Jesus was a prophet who was gifted and filled with the Holy Spirit (Mark 14:13). However, Peter did not only disbelieve the words of Jesus, but greatly boasted that he would not leave the Lord, and in his presence, further boasted that he was willing to die for the Lord. Evidently, at the time, he was living in self-righteousness, and neither knew God nor himself. We see in what is recorded later that what Jesus foretold indeed came to pass. Peter later remembered the words Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). The sincerity of Peter was in his bitter weeping, he confessed his weakness and sincerely from his heart, truly repented before the Lord (Psalm 51), which resulted between him and Judas, a difference of heaven and earth. It is important to know that Peter was a disciple with a very successful ministry (Mark 1:17, 3:1, Matthew 10:1, Mark 8:29, Matthew 16:16, Mark 9:1-10). However, after Jesus was arrested, Peter due to fear and unbelief, became one who denied the Lord, and denied his faith (Luke 22:45-60). This makes it clear that no one can follow the Lord by their own strength and will. Only when Peter experienced trials and tests of all sorts, and acknowledged the uselessness of trusting in himself, looking to the Lord in humility, was he used by the Lord: feeding the Lord’s sheep, building up the church (John 21:15), even dying for the Lord. Peter was only able to stand again because of the Lord’s grace and the Lord’s prayer for him. “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled” (John 17:12, 10:28, Luke 22:31-32). The Lord Jesus’ death was not enough for the disciples to continue following him; all the disciples left. But the Lord Jesus’ resurrection allowed the disciples to receive the resurrected power of the Lord, to know truly in a renewed way, the Lord Jesus is God, is the Messiah, is their Savior and the God of life, and allowed them to die for Jesus, spreading the gospel across the world, even to this day. Dear brothers and sisters, today God’s revelation is already complete; the Lord Jesus has completed his grand work of redemption, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, where he is interceding for us. We are actually more blessed than the early believers. Are you a Christian who has been reborn and saved, and has experienced the mighty resurrected power of God in your life? Where does the Peter-like self-righteousness manifest in your life? As the church history of China, there were one million believers in 1949, and among them, 410 000 were forced to sign their names and become part of the Three-self Patriotic Church, forsaking the true teaching that Jesus is the only head of the church, and becoming shameful betrayers of the Lord. Presently, whether oppression of the Christian faith in the east or west, I give thanks for Pastor Wang Yi, a rare voice that rebukes evil, making the bold declaration that “silence is betrayal” - the voice of a prophet of our times, loyal to the Lord even to death. In this regard, it is evident that much of the time, we are all betrayers of the Lord, may the Lord show mercy and grant grace to us, and strengthen and help us. In the workplace and at school, am I the “undercover” Christian, or am I the Christian who is the lamp placed on the stand (Matthew 10:32-33, Matthew 5:15-16)? May God help us work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13), and help us become a humble Christian who is eager to receive instruction, and is willing to love the Lord and love his neighbor more (1 John 5:1-5, John 14:21, 1 John 1: 8-9). We don’t love the Lord enough because we do not know God enough, and do not know our sins enough (Luke 7:41-47). I have believed the Lord for many years, do I still often use my fleshly judgment and ideas to lead my daily life, may the Lord help me live a God-centered life. Please carefully read the Scripture verses, Mark 14:27-31, and meditate and pray: From the lesson of Peter’s denial of Jesus three times, how can I reflect on the growth of my life and the path of my service, in order to be always awake, cautious and on guard?