3 Chances, 3 Cave-ins

But he denied it before them all, saying,”I do not know what you mean.” Matthew 26:70

I cannot believe you just stood there and said nothing.”  These were the comments of a teenage boy to his friend who just blew his change to ask out the girl of his dreams.  Certainly all of us have had those chances in life that we just caved in.

This morning’s scripture reading, Matthew 26:57-75, includes the well-documented (Included in all four gospels) story of Peter’s three cave-ins.  This scene takes place during the events of Jesus trial before the High-Priest.  One can feel the tension in the room as the religious leaders vicious attacks come wave after wave upon Jesus (Vs:59-63).  I am amazed at Jesus calmness and commitment in the face of false testimony and fervent testing.  One can rejoice as Jesus voice rings out, “You have said so…” Jesus was and is the Christ.  Even when the verdict is given, “He deserves death,” Jesus stays focused on the goal of our redemption.

In the midst of all of this Matthew offers this footnote about Peter’s whereabouts, “He was following him at a distance.”  More about this in a moment.

In this text we see Peter in the courtyard out side of where the trail was taking place.  Three times Peter is given a change to stand up for Jesus and three times he caves in.  Personally I see the same thing over and over again in the lives of believers today, including myself.

Three times Peter is giving a change to stand up for Jesus.  Here they are for your review.  First, Peter is given a change in a conversation, Vs: 69-70.  How often do we have the opportunity to share Christ in random places with the simplest of conversations?  Second, Peter is given a change in a crowd, Vs: 71-72.  Here Peter is challenged by bystanders who call out for his response. Again he caves in.  How often do we find ourselves in the midst of crowds with a great opportunity for the gospel?  Third, Peter is given a change in the midst of confrontation, Vs: 73-75.  Here Peter is forcefully confronted and he once again caves in.  How often has the Lord afforded you opportunities in tense situations to share you faith?

I truly believe Peter thought he was ready for every change to stand up for Jesus, but in this moment he was not ready.  Certainly others thought he was ready but he was not.  In this moment he loved his life more than he loved the lord.

Who am I to say that I would be any different.  One thing is for sure, if we follow the Lord from a distance we will cave in throughout our lives.  This morning we must strength ourselves in our resolve to love the Lord and to walk closely with our Lord.  We must seek to love him unconditionally.

As we seek to do this, we will fail from time to time.  But even then our great God shows us mercy in our weaknesses.  This day, I am praying that you and I both will not cave in when we are given the change to stand up and speak out for Jesus.

For further reading, John 21 and Romans 10 

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