A question we all must ask ourselves at some point or other is “Do I really mean what I say?”
Sure, we might make promises to God, and maybe for the most part, we carry them out. But there are those times when we say things with the best intentions, thinking we might just mean it, when in all actuality, we don’t. We’re all talk and no action.
Peter knows what this is like.
On the Mount of Olives before Jesus’ death, Peter tells Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” In response, Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him, to which Peter says, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:31-35)
For the people who read this for the first time without any knowledge of what is to come, this might seem a reality. They believe that what Peter is saying is true, even if Jesus predicts it otherwise. They want to believe it is true. After all, this is a follower of Christ. How could Peter speak such a strong vow if he doesn’t have the intentions of keeping it?
For those of us who already know how the story ends, Peter does indeed disown him. Three times. And when he realized that what Jesus said was true, “he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)
Peter messed up.
Yet when Jesus is raised from the dead several days later, who does he say to announce his presence to? “…his disciples and Peter.” (Mark 16:7). Once he reached his disciples, he then gave them the authority to make disciples across the earth, what we refer to as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus closes with, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”
If you look again at Mark 16:7, you see that Peter was called out of the bunch. Why?
Because even when he messed up, Jesus wanted him and us to know that he loves Peter and forgives Peter all the same.
Like Peter, we too are often guilty of not giving Him the glory He deserves. We are sometimes ashamed of the Gospel, too afraid to reach out to our neighbors or claim that we are walking with Christ. We might say we’re Christian to people who ask, but the words stop there.
We might tell God on Sunday mornings in church that we will follow Him wherever He leads. We say that we’re surrendering our lives to Him and we’re going to do all we can to live for Him. Yet when we go back to our lives the following day, our routine continues and the words we spoke the day before are forgotten.
God sees our hearts. He knows we may say these things, but not really have the intentions of following through.
Yet what we learn from His Word is that He loves us and forgives us all the same. He still gives us chances to proclaim His name. He allows us the opportunities to take up our cross.
What have you been telling God lately?
Do you really mean what you say?