One of my favourite persons in the Bible is Peter. I think it is because he is so relatable. He wasn’t this mighty prophet or brilliant theologian but he was a hard-working fisherman that Jesus called. He was a lot like you and I, nothing special but called. For this reason I believe we can glean a lot from his triumphs and failures.
Peter was Jesus’ star pupil. He was part of the inner circle of the Lord’s disciples and experienced many things that the others did not. One day Jesus said to His disciples that they would deny Him. Boisterous Peter spoke up and declared that he would die before he would deny his Master. Jesus listened and then responded that not only would Peter deny Him but that he would do it three times before the rooster crowed!
When Jesus was ambushed in the Garden, Peter valiantly tried to fend off the attackers. He drew his sword and struck one of the servants of the High Priest, cutting off his right ear but Jesus stopped him. Then the Messiah did something strange, He healed the servant’s ear reminding Peter that He must fulfill what the prophets had said. He must drink the cup that His Father had given Him.
All four Gospel writers say that Peter continued to follow Jesus and the arrest party, afar off. He came into the Palace of the High Priest, where Jesusʼ trial was taking place, and warmed himself by the fire. While huddled around the flames, a woman recognized him as one of the disciples but Peter adamantly declared that he didnʼt know Jesus. A short time later another person accused him of being a disciple of Christ but again he denied. Finally, an hour had passed and a group confronted Peter saying, “You must be a disciple, because you are Galilaean and your speech betrays you.” Then Peter began to curse and swear. He tried to convince them that he didnʼt know Jesus but before he finished speaking the cock crew.
Luke says, in his Gospel, that the Lord turned when He heard the rooster crow and their eyes met.
Immediately Peter remembered Jesus’ words and he went out and wept bitterly. He had failed Jesus. His actions had betrayed everything he stood for. No doubt the last three years flashed before his eyes as he sat slumped in the corner sobbing. He would have remember the words he spoke with such conviction, “Thou art the Christ/ Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life/ I will die before I deny you.”
Peter was ashamed of what he had done and we too experience shame when we fail God. Do you know what another word for shame is? Disgrace which literally means to put yourself out of grace or favour. When we cannot get over our shame we are quite simply refusing to accept God’s grace. This is one of the biggest hurdles for the born-again Christian because we seem to think that since we are saved we should be immune to sin.
But here is what Paul writes in Romans 3:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
Now read the following verse:
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
The redemption (the paying back, saving) that is in Christ Jesus. Our Saviour was crucified for more than just our sins. His side was pierced for our transgressions or sins. The stripes on His back were for our healing and He was hung naked for our shame. Jesus knew that He would have to deal with shame, so this virgin, who is the definition of purity, was displayed for all the world to see. O, what shame He must have felt.
But Jesus had declared His devotion from the beginning of His ministry – I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He came for you and He came for me. He knew we wouldn’t be perfect. He knew we would make mistakes but He came anyway.
We just need to get over our pride. “Wait, pride? What do you mean, pride? I thought we were talking about shame,” you might be wondering.
Well yes I am talking about shame but I am also talking about pride because the two go hand-in-hand. Let me explain. The wise King Solomon writes in Proverbs:
When pride cometh then cometh shame. (Proverbs 11:2, KJV)
Another version of the Bible says it this way:
Pride leads to disgrace. (NLT)
You see it now? Pride is what causes us to feel shame. We need to pray every day that God helps us with our pride. If we deal with the ‘root’ of pride, the ‘weed’ of shame will never grow. A man that is not prideful will readily come before God in repentance when he has sinned. A prideful man will not. We need to get over our pride.
Thank God that Peter didn’t allow his pride and shame to destroy his walk with the Lord. After Jesus rose from the grave Peter was able to come to a place of repentance. Later, he would preach the wonderful salvation message on the Day of Pentecost and become one of the greatest Apostles this world has ever known.
All because he got over his pride.