But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:71-72)
This part of Simon’s Peter story and life is well chronicled and often communicated. Peter is seen as a great example of failure and restoration. There are some key thoughts about what happened this night that we should consider, but often do not. First, how threatening were the circumstances even if the people asking were not? Secondly, Peter is immediately broken over his denial of Christ. I believe the fact that Peter had gone this far with Jesus while no one else had and the fact that he wept bitterly over his denial of Christ, speaks volumes about the spirit of Peter. He wanted to honor Jesus that night. Yet, he failed. Can you relate?
Yesterday, at our local Association Passion Week noon services, I had the privilege of hearing a great message on this chapter. John Carrigan, from Oak Grove Baptist, made a correlation between two events that ill, yet wonderfully, fated night that I had never heard before. Some hours before this event, Jesus had a very different interaction with Peter. I am not speaking of when he told Peter he would deny him. We all know that connection. It was after that, but before this moment of denial.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Mark 14:32-38)
The emphasis in this passage is mine. The truth is Christ’s. Peter’s problem was not that he did not have the spirit nor the desire or passion to stand for Christ. There he was standing alone on behalf of his Savior, yet in the face of a slave girl he crumpled.
I wonder what would have happened around that fire if Peter had not slept while Jesus prayed. Jesus was dealing with the flesh in the garden. He was putting the request for another way before the Father, yet was willing to do the will of the Father. He prayed. He prepared. And he finished.
Peter failed to prepare. And he fell into temptation. A willing spirit means little when our weak flesh wins.
At Fellowship we have challenged you to pray for those who do not know Christ and to share that hope with them personally this Easter season. We have encouraged you to invite them to worship with us this Sunday. I encourage you to not just say you will do this, but do it.
Start with prayer though. Get ready. Be prepared. A willing spirit means allowing God to prepare your flesh for his purposes. Set yourself aside in prayer. If you have not been able to be a part of a corporate prayer time at Fellowship this week there is one more today from 6-9 AM or from 5:30-6:30 PM. These are come and go prayer times. If you have 10 minutes to come pray then show up, grab a prayer guide, and pray.
Don’t get caught napping.