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The Grace Project

"Though I have Fallen, I will Rise" (Easter Meditation)

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  
 
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.”
[2 Cor. 1:3-6]
 
Yet, see how Peter’s self-confidence betrays him, “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death.’  Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know Me.’” [Luke 22:33-34]
 
Peter’s flesh has once again caused him to sink.  There, in the courtyard, Peter sees the inadequacies of the flesh coming into stark relief and he might also have become conscious of his own weaknesses and limitations.  There too, in the courtyard, as the rooster crows and he catches a glance of Jesus as He is being led away, Peter weeps bitterly.  Peter has learnt one more universal lesson.  He weeps because he’s disappointed in himself and this itself, if you will, is disappointing in that it’s disappointing that he ever had any hope in self.
 
It’s fascinating to note that the Lord adapts for service those who have the greatest “fleshly strengths”.  One can only imagine what perverse thoughts have coursed through Peter’s mind.  How the devil would’ve taunted Peter, “‘Rock’?  Don’t make me laugh!  ‘Pebble’, more like!” as he pours out his sulphurous hatred, “Loser!  Traitor!!  JUDAS!!!”  Peter has come undone.  How could it be that the same Peter who has been part of the inner circle; the same Peter who has walked on the water with Jesus; the same Peter who has been with Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration; who has been with Him in Gethsemane; who has fed the five thousand with him; how could this same Peter have so easily betrayed Him?  Why has Peter not heeded the Lord’s advice in Gethsemane [Mark 14:37] when He had told him that his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak and that he should watch and pray?  How could Peter have ever presumed that he’s immune to failure?  And most important of all, how could Peter be the one upon whom Jesus would build the church against which the gates of hell would not prevail?  Peter has failed; he weeps bitterly.
 
Peter is conflicted.  Though his tears are authentic, the emotions which drive them are confused.  He’s crying out partly of remorse but then, there’s this alien feeling – a feeling of relief.  Amidst the tears, Peter’s recollection of the Son’s face forms a rainbow in his mind.  It’s something in the glint of Jesus’ eyes.  When he sees Jesus being led out, Peter couldn’t bear to make eye contact but he couldn’t help himself.  What he sees shocks him because far from seeing condemnation or disappointment in those soon-to-be-crucified eyes of Jesus, Peter sees, instead, the look of love which is in His eyes; a look which a smile can’t disguise.  That look says so much more than words could ever say and what his heart has heard that day takes his breath away.  That look says to Peter, “I can hardly wait to hold you and put My arms around you; how long I‘ve waited just to love you.”
 
Those eyes of Jesus are trying to tell Peter something.  If only Peter could’ve lifted his head above his disappointment in himself, he would’ve seen that Jesus’ eyes twinkle, “For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble [Peter] shall fall to the earth.” [Amos 9:9].
 
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!  Though I have fallen, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”
 ~ Micah 7:8 NIV
 
It’ll serve you well, my dear apprentice, to observe the way in which the Lord fashions us for the apostolic life.  As the great F B Meyer taught us many years ago, Jesus draws us to the flame; He puts us by the fire [Luke 22:55]; then, He puts us in the fire [1 Pet. 1:6]; then, He puts the fire in us [Acts 2:4]; then, we become as He is – the Light of the World [Matt. 5:14; John 8:12].
 
From the crucible the courtyard fire, Peter becomes the Rock who heads the work in Jerusalem and is the spokesman at Pentecost.  He heals the lame beggar outside the temple, performs many signs and wonders, even raising the dead.  Yet, perhaps the most telling of all are the last recorded words of the Apostle Peter, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.” [2 Pet. 3:18].
 
I thank God for the bitter things;
They've been a friend to grace
They've driven me from the path of ease
To storm the secret place
I thank him for the friends who failed
To fill my heart's deep,
They've driven me to my Saviour's feet
Upon his love to feed,
I'm grateful too, through life's way
No one could satisfy
And so I've found in God alone
My rich, my full supply.”

~ Florence Willett 

 
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