Is Jesus too blunt?

truth will set you free miserable 1stJesus had just predicted he would be betrayed and that he would die. Peter who was always ready to speak before engaging his brain says (probably very dramatically?) ‘Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you’ (cue Bryan Adams song).

Jesus said, ‘Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ (Luke 22.33-34)

I think if I was Peter that I might have been a little upset by this blunt answer. Peter had declared his allegiance to Jesus, he had promised that he would follow him to the end and Jesus has just basically said that he didn’t believe him. I think that Peter meant what he said wholeheartedly, he did think he was ready to die and he probably expected his statement of commitment to be met with a more positive response. After all, isn’t our heart attitude more important than whether we are perfect in life?

I understand that Jesus wanted to warn Peter that he was going to deny him but it has always surprised me that there was nothing encouraging in his words and it feels a little like Jesus may have been too blunt? This week as I thought about this conversation between Peter and Jesus the penny finally dropped.

Jesus was frustrated because Peter was still expressing confidence in himself rather than being confident in Jesus.

Imagine if Peter had said ‘Jesus, if you help and strengthen me then I hope I will be ready to die with you’. I think Jesus would have  responded more positively, still with a warning of the denial ahead but also encouragement that he was pleased with Peter.

Jesus had already said ‘I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers’ (v32). Jesus encouraged Peter that there was a way back, that he could turn back to him. Jesus accepts that we will fail and he still loves and accepts us.  Heart attitude is the most important to Jesus but only if our confidence is in him and not in ourselves.

Jesus foresaw that Peter was going to struggle and he felt so moved that he spent time pleading to God in prayer for his friend. Jesus really does care for Peter but he also wanted him to learn and to grow in his faith. This whole episode was an important part of Peter’s growth where he saw more clearly that he needed to trust in God and not himself. He learned that Jesus accepted him even when he got things really, really, really wrong.

Who or what is our confidence in? Do you remember the Noel Richards song, ‘Our confidence is in the Lord’? It has been a reminder to me over the years that I need to trust in God and not in myself.

If God reveals to me there is trouble ahead, he doesn’t want me to respond ‘Don’t worry God, I’ll be okay’. My response should be that I am trusting in God to lead me through, that I need God or else I am lost and that I am grateful that Jesus is pleading for me in prayer.

Jesus doesn’t need you to have it all together, he just wants you to be together with him.

Here are the words to our confidence is in the Lord. Why not read them through and take a moment to consider who or what our confidence is in.

 

Our confidence is in the Lord
The source of our salvation.
Rest is found in Him alone,
The Author of creation.
We will not fear the evil day,
Because we have a refuge;
In every circumstance we say,
Our hope is built on Jesus.

He is our fortress,
We will never be shaken.
He is our fortress,
We will never be shaken.
(Repeat)

We will put our trust in God.
We will put our trust in God.

Noel & Tricia Richards © 1989 Thankyou Music

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About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Baptist Minister who is especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century. I am also a member of the Eastern Baptist Association's Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.
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