What’s your breaking point?
I think that Easter Sunday is a picture of what it takes to break a person and his or her faith.
Our boy Judas broke at the first scent of money; read all about that here.
Peter, on the other hand, was the ever-determined disciple. Sure he had no breaking point, he claimed that nothing could make him lose his faith and devotion to Jesus.
Didn’t take him long to hightail it, though.
Peter is a study in who we are today.
Think about the situation: any normal day of the week, Peter is stepping right with Jesus, doing what he should. But, the minute things start to look out of control, he loses it.
Peter was tired. He was scared. He was disappointed. He was doubting. He was heartbroken. He was betrayed.
Suddenly, these emotions took over.
It is in these high-pressure, emotional situations where we say, “I don’t need you, Jesus. Let me handle this.”
In essence, we recall our faith in Jesus and put this faith in other things.
The following five areas are places we (or I, at least!) often depend on instead of Jesus.
Faith in self
Before things even get dicey, Peter comes right out of the gate and tells Jesus, straight up, “I got You. Even if all of these other folks fall and mess up, I won’t.”
If you know the story, you know Jesus was like (WELL THIS IS AWKWARD MEME).
This can be seen in our…
- Dependency on willpower alone
- Belief that “this will never happen to me” or “I could never fall like that”
- Examples of stumbling could be
We are quick to judge others for their faults, yet we fail to take into account the simple truth that we are all just a few decisions away from major missteps ourselves.
Faith in our plans
The Roman soldiers pop up, ready to take Jesus, and Peter, being the all-in kind of guy he is, takes it upon himself to carry out vigilante justice. In doing so, he cuts off a guy’s ear.
Who let this guy hold the group weapon in the first place??
Here, what Peter does is trust in his own plan.
Today, this can be seen in ways such as…
- Belief that I can handle it.
- Thinking I can do a better job than God for a bit.
- Believing God needs my help to get things done
Faith in our relationship with society
Have you ever taken a position that doesn’t align with who you say you are? Big area of weakness for me, so that’s probably why this part jumped off the page at me.
Following Jesus’ arrest, Peter goes and stands with people in the courtyard. In essence, he is trying to stand with the opposition while also supporting Jesus.
Basically, I think this part of the story speaks to riding the fence in society.
Contradicting beliefs that try to conform just don’t work. It’s like mixing oil and water, and Peter sees the penalty as he is “found out” in this moment.
Today, this looks like…
- Valuing safety and security over transparency
- Trying to blend in with society
- Believing you’re immune to the characteristics of your “circle”
Faith in our words
Peter’s physical position here sets him up for the words that fly out of his mouth. When the folks ask him, “You’re with Jesus, right?” Peter responds by hiding his beliefs.
He denies what they are saying and denies his Jesus because to do otherwise would result ostracization and, potentially, even death. This plays out in ways such as:
- Hiding what you believe
- Valuing acceptance over truth
- Watering down your beliefs to make them more palatable
Faith in shame
Peter, following his denial, sees Jesus looking at him, so he does what all of us have an inclination to do: he runs.
In this moment, Peter trusts in and acts on his shame’s instruction by fleeing from Jesus.
Shame tells us that we should keep our mouths closed- that Jesus couldn’t possibly want us after our hiccups.
Shame works to push us further away from Jesus.
Today, for us, this looks like:
- Allowing sin to push us around
- Believing that hiding from Jesus will work
- Hiding our mistakes and putting up a front of perfection
Peter reveals an incredibly important truth: no matter how close you may be to Jesus, under the right circumstances, you can lose your dependency on Jesus.
Therefore, Peter should be a big source of hope for us.
It’s easy to trust in Jesus when He is giving me the desires of my heart and all is well. Yet, when things get tough, I’m the first to turn and run for the hills.
Peter is a good representation of how I see the Christian’s walk with Jesus: walk, stumble, get up, repeat.
Peter is a lesson for all of us.
No matter how good you think you are, you can always fall- that is our nature.
No matter how bad you have messed up, you can always come back to Jesus- that is his nature.