Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
I feel like the older I get, the more I become addicted to God’s grace. Perhaps it’s because the more I study the Bible, the more I see grace as the central theme in the Gospel-story. Or it’s because in my own life, I keep piling up a rather impressive track-record of sin. I’ve come to realize that the thing that binds my wandering heart to God is not my obedience, but my faith in the only One who was truly obedient. But even my faith can be paper-thin at times. This is why I take great comfort in the apostle Peter.
Peter was the type of guy who would fill a room. A loud, commanding, type-A leader, who grabs hold of life to shake it for all its worth. Zealous, passionate, and a natural leader, Peter pushed his way to the front of the stage in the Gospels. We know more about Peter than any other disciple. And it was Peter whom Jesus named “the rock” upon whom He would build his church (Matthew 16). Peter was a first century mega-church pastor; the very first celebrity preacher. And he would do great things for the kingdom.
But like all rocks, Peter would crumble under pressure.
On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter was waiting outside when someone spotted him and said, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” Peter’s response? “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Again, someone declared, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again, Peter said, “I don’t even know the man” (Matthew 26:69-72).
I can understand Peter’s hesitation if his questioners were big, burly soldiers carrying clubs. But according to Matthew’s Gospel, the two people questioning him were slave girls—hardly any physical threat. Still, the rock began to crumble. Peter’s faith was paper-thin. He confessed that he didn’t even know who Jesus was.
Can you imagine if your pastor got up and announced to the congregation, “I don’t even know who Jesus is?” He might just be fired on the spot and rushed out of church. But Jesus isn’t threatened by our faith—as thin as it is. After all, our faith is underwritten by the power of Christ, who loves us and keeps us by his side despite our weaknesses. Or—because of our weaknesses.
Prior to Peter’s denial, Jesus sat in the garden of Gethsemane and told Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:31-32 NLT). The rock would crumble but Jesus would pick up the pieces and put them back together.
As I get older, I tend to trust less and less in my obedience as the bonding agent of my relationship with God. And I’m more thankful than ever that Christ is in heaven, as he was in the garden, praying for me that my faith would not fail.
Jesus, keep my faith and hold it fast. Thank you for praying for me today.