What God is Saying:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easter Devotion: Denial and Restoration (Day 20)

"You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."
But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the others said the same.  Mark 14:27-31



Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."
But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.
A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" 
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."
And he went outside and wept bitterly.  Luke 22:54-62



When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.  John 21:15-17


Questions:
- While Jesus and His disciples were still eating the Passover meal, what did Jesus predict would happen when He was arrested?
- What did Peter say in response and what did Jesus then predict about Peter?
- How do you think that may have made Peter feel?
- What happened, later that evening, when some people asked if Peter was a follower of Jesus?
- Why do you think he lied and said he did not know Jesus?
- How did Peter react when he remembered Jesus' prediction?
- After Jesus' resurrection, Jesus met the disciples while they were fishing. What did He tell Peter?
- Why do you think Jesus asked Peter the same question three times?
- Did Jesus forgive Peter for denying Him?
- What did Peter go on to do after Jesus went to Heaven?

Thoughts
While the disciples were all eating with Jesus, it was easy to promise Jesus that they would never deny Him, never abandon Him. But when things got difficult, when the soldiers and the crowds calling for Jesus' death showed up, the disciples ran. They were afraid. They were confused. Peter, usually the most outspoken of the twelve, again becomes the most outspoken. But this time, he is not proclaiming that Jesus is the son of God or that he will stand by Jesus no matter what. Instead, he is denying that he even knows Jesus. When Peter realizes what he has done, how he has fallen, he is in absolute anguish. Yet, after all this, he still holds out hope. He runs to the tomb to see if Jesus is alive and later, he jumps out of a fishing boat to swim to shore to see Jesus. And Jesus, knowing that Peter had denied him out of fear, forgives Peter and reinstates him into His service. Three times He asks Peter about his love and three times Peter assures Jesus of his love. Three times he denied and three times he confesses. Praise God that we have a God of second chances!

Prayer
Lord Jesus, it is not always easy to follow You. Please help us to never deny Your name. May we speak with boldness about who You are and why we love You. We lift up, in prayer, those Christians throughout the world who face what Peter faced...possible persecution or even death for being a Christian. Give them the strength they need to not deny Your name.

Song: Second Chances
The song "Second Chances" from the Veggie Tales movie, Jonah would be a good song to play. I had a hard time finding a clip on the computer but you may be able to find one or watch the video which is a great story of a man who got a second chance from God. 

For further study: This would be a good time to talk to your children about the persecuted church and how they daily face what Peter faced. You can read more at Kids of Courage

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