Peter stayed with the Lord Jesus for 3 years. Every day he heard the words of the Lord Jesus and saw the miracles He performed. When asked by Jesus, “But who do you think I am?” Peter was the only disciple to whom He was revealed to be the Christ, the Son of God. Peter also witnessed, together with James and John, the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus on the mountain. “Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” (Matthew 17:1-2 NASB)
Why then did Peter betray and reject the Lord Jesus with curses and oaths? The one who had the best Bible school, along with his Teacher.
“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
It seems that in those 3 years, Peter managed to get used to the Lord Jesus, as well as the other disciples, didn’t he? They had become accustomed to His presence because He met all their spiritual and material needs, protected them, spent personal time with them. What could be better? But when his Teacher was caught in the Garden of Gethsemane, that Peter who had recently “torn his shirt off” declaring that he was ready to die for the Lord Jesus suddenly became different. It was a test of the authenticity of his faith and that of the other disciples.
Many times we also get used to the Lord Jesus. Before, overwhelmed with the joy of salvation, you spoke to all people about the Lord Jesus. Now, try to remember when you last preached the gospel to someone. Before, you prayed fervently and sang from the heart to the Lord. Now you are too busy and find no time for the Lord, to worship and pray, or prayer has become a formality and a bother.
Have you heard people say they don’t know what to say in prayer? Before, you never got tired of reading the Bible for hours. Now, ask yourself when you opened the Word of God and how well did you study it? Before, you took pleasure in spending time with believers, you were the first to arrive at church. Now, you go to church because you have to and you look at your watch in a hurry to get home faster.
There is a danger of getting used to the Lord Jesus. A danger of moving away from Him and dealing with other things that steal our heart. Jesus wants a personal relationship with each of us. Ask yourself, what is your relationship with Him today? What is your motivation in the ministry which He entrusted to you? Do you have a daily spiritual discipline of prayer and study of God’s Word? Does the Word of God move your heart or do you remain indifferent when it speaks to you?
We have read that after Peter renounced the Lord Jesus, he went away and wept bitterly. He realized that he had failed the test of faith. Later, after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus came to Peter and had the following discussion with him:
„So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. (John 21:15-18 NASB)
Jesus asked Peter a key question, which He also asks us. Only a man who loves the Lord Jesus can serve other believers. Love for Him is the only motivation to serve. Jesus insisted 3 times with this question for Peter to understand this important truth. He insisted as many times as Peter denied Him. The love of God is not an emotion, it is a daily determination to follow Him unconditionally based on His Word.
Let us not become used to the Lord Jesus, and guard our daily walk with Him. May God help us!
Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu