Luke 22:60-61 – “Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Peter’s denial of Jesus was pretty brazen. He just spent the last three years of his life with Jesus, learning under him, watching him do miraculous things, and being empowered to do great things himself. Peter’s life was wrapped around Jesus for those three years; yet in this one moment of weakness, Peter messed up. Just hours before, Peter was willing to pull a sword on a Roman soldier so as to protect Jesus, but now he isn’t even willing to stand up to a little servant girl. What is going on with Peter?
I’ve heard many say that Peter feared for his life in this moment; that because he saw Jesus facing the Sanhedrin and the Roman soldiers, that he feared that his life would be at risk. His safety may have been his concern, but I wonder how much had to do with Peter’s very faith in Jesus. We can’t know Peter’s heart and his thoughts, but I wonder to what extent Peter was seriously doubting what his heart had originally believed about Jesus given the situation. Jesus told him all the right things that should cause Peter to not doubt, yet I believe it is very much possible that Peter’s issue itself was his lack of faith.
Consider the characters in Scripture and how often they lacked faith. Yes, there are a few who demonstrate incredible resolve in the midst of being pressured about their faith. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Stephen, and even Paul show this resolve. Yet there are so many others who become quite faithless at times. The Israelites were a people who regularly saw God at work, yet they questioned God so often.
We, today, have seen so many works of the Lord. We have seen him provide for us in ways we never imagined. We have seen and heard of miracles. We have been told of his promises that directly apply to us. God has proved his work in our lives time and time again. Yet many of us doubt.
Unfortunately, there is a sense that our culture is celebrating doubt and lack of faith. Because questioning is such a regular struggle for some, our temptation is to help people feel welcome to bring their doubts, which we should. Yet while we seek to welcome people with their doubts, are we celebrating their doubts as we help them see that even the most resolute and godly people question? Are we showing the world that it is honorable to have a lack of faith? We must acknowledge that doubting is present in many people, yet at the same time recognize that God’s ideal for us is faith. Faith that is unmoved. Faith that looks at Jesus in the eye when he tells us that we are going to deny him, yet refuses to allow those words of rejection to come out of our mouth.
May God imprint the truth of who He is on our minds. May he strengthen our faith and our resolve so that we may stand strong as we are put on trial for our faith. May our prayer be, “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!”