“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.” Luke 11:21-22
Why did Peter deny Jesus? He confidently declared “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:35) But only a few short hours later, Peter did the exact opposite. He denied he knew Jesus three times, just as Jesus predicted. We don’t have to imagine Peter’s sorrow: We’re told plainly that afterwards “he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)
But this doesn’t answer the question of why Peter denied knowing Him. Part of it was fear: Fear of losing his reputation by being associated with a man accused of being a criminal. Fear of his responsibilities. Fear, perhaps, for his own life. But another reason that Peter ended up denying knowing His Lord is because he was away from Him.
Peter lost sight of his Lord. It wasn’t until “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (Luke 22:61) that Peter came back to his senses and realized what he had done. After losing sight of Jesus, Peter had been trying to do things on his own strength. Rather than trusting God, he was trusting in himself.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Peter himself explains the imminent danger of trying to do everything ourselves God: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) The apostle James advises us: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8) While even the strongest of men & women are no match for Satan’s temptations on our own, with God we have nothing to fear.
We can stay near to God by reading His Word, by speaking and listening to Him in prayer, and by living in community with His sons and daughters. Stay near to God, and you will never be overwhelmed.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Question: What is the danger of not staying near God? How does staying near God protect us from danger?
by Darren Hewer
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