Scripture connections: Matthew 21-27, Mark 11-15
Jesus finally has to face the trouble He knew was coming His way in Luke 20-22. His authority is questioned again and again by those who don't believe. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and others in control trying to incriminate Jesus. There are lots of stubborn unbelievers. And then there are those who do believe and know who Jesus is. They are sure of His authority, both in the present world and in Heaven. Their hearts are open to all He has to teach. That's me. I believe. My heart is open to Jesus. But, I still make mistakes all the time.
Today, I can't help but compare Peter and Jesus in their faith. Jesus' faith is perfect. He prays to God for direction each step of the way. He share's God's message to the world, and He trusts God with His life through it all. He doesn't react to the wrong-doing that comes His way. Instead, He is calm and collected with the strength of God. He consults God again and again, acting only in love, even to the very people who are hurting Him.
Then, there's Peter. He knows Jesus is the Messiah. He has all the knowledge He needs. Jesus works hard to draw Peter closer to Him in faith with powerful experiences. I have written about that in another devotional (see Matthew 14-16). Jesus spells out what will happen ahead of time, and warns Peter. Yet, the best Peter can do is follow Jesus at a distance. And when the going gets really tough, Peter completely denies Jesus' presence in His life. In fact, that happens three times (Luke 22:54-62). Peter gets caught up in the circumstances of the moment again and again and forgets all that Jesus has taught Him.
I pray for God to make me more like Jesus. I have to because I know I am more like Peter. I can't help myself. I am easily distracted from God's purpose for my life. I am too quick to run my own way, wanting to protect myself. I too often use my own words to dish back what is being handed to me. In my impatience, I completely fail to hear God's direction in my life before I act. Thank goodness, Jesus knew Peter and his heart. Jesus also knows you and me and our hearts. He never gave up on Peter, and He won't ever give up on us. Jesus promises us,
14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom...
Think about times in your life when you have acted more like Peter and times in your life when you acted more like Jesus. What can you learn from those experiences? What do you need to do to draw closer to Jesus?
A prayer for today-
Thank you for showing up in my life and never giving up on me. I pray for your constant guidance. Help me to turn to You and hear your voice before I act.
In the name of Jesus I pray,
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