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Peter’s Denial

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed. (John 18:12-27, NRSV)

What would you have done?

To admit you know Jesus meant you would be arrested. And who knows what would happen then. So would you have been like Peter and deny even knowing Jesus?

It is easy for us to say we would not have denied Jesus because we know all of the story. But in that moment would we have caved just like Peter?

Aren’t we all a little like Peter?

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The Inescapable God

O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—

those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil!

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Psalm 139:19-24, NRSV)

Lord, you know me inside and out and have formed me to be your child.

Purge all wickedness and evil from my life and lead me in the way you have for me.

Lead me in the way everlasting.

Help me to follow you.

 

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Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:1-21, NRSV)

Every time I read this story I also wish I could have been there. I wonder was it Nicodemus and Jesus alone or were others in the room with them? Were there people who overheard the conversation? Were the overhearers as confused as it seems Nicodemus was/is?

You see, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night so people would not see him a Pharisee going to see Jesus. Also, he came under the cover of darkness at night because that is where he is, in the dark. He doesn’t understand how this man can do what He does. He does not understand what this man says.

But my wonder is, do any of us always understand Jesus? I have been called to many different things in my life and few of them I have understood. I have participated in them becuase I know God has called me to them and I live with God in and through those callings, but to say I understand them might be pushing it. Like when people ask me why I moved from Texas to Wisconsin in January, my reply is, “Because that is what God wanted me to do.” Now don’t get me wrong Wisconsin is a wonderful state to live in, but it is a lot colder than Texas is in January, well maybe not this January! But we follow God not always seeing the full picture. Nicodemus wanted to understand the full picture, so he came to talk to Jesus, to get some answers, and left with more questions than answers this time, but Nicodemus doesn’t give up.

Do you give up when Jesus gives you more quesitons than answers or do you push forward knowing that even in the quesitons God is still with you?

 

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Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:1-11, NRSV)

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus dwells in you, he will give your mortal body life.

Life is not lived in our fleshly bodies but through the Spirit of God. Life is lived in the Spirit.

Without God, there is no life.

Know God – Know Life!

No God – No Life!

So allow Him to live in and through you!

 

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Know

 

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children of light

170328For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:8-14, NRSV)

Know that everything you do in the dark or in secret will be made known to all. Do you really want your mother to know you do that?

No probably not. So do not think you can hide anything from God, as He sees everything and knows everything and everything you are will be exposed.

So live like you are a child of the living God and allow your life to shine His love on everything.

 

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Shine Jesus Shine

170226Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1-9, NRSV)

Six days later? What happened six days ago?

Well it was a little event at which Jesus called Peter satan and advised him to get a proper perspective by getting behind Jesus.

Jesus told the disciples He was on His way to Jerusalem where He would be killed. And Peter said this will not happen. So Jesus put Peter in his place, where all of us belong. I have said before if you can’t see the back of Jesus’ head then you need to change your perspective.

And then here, after Peter tries to tell Jesus what is going to happen, Jesus takes him and James and John up the mountain where Jesus meets with Moses and Elijah. How did Peter, James, and John know it was Moses and Elijah? I mean they didn’t see polaroids of them. Were they wearing name tags? Hello my name is Moses?

But anyway, Peter shows who he is again by stumbling over his words, amazed at what he was seeing, asking if they should build tents for the three of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, so they can all stay there forever. But of course that is not why they are there, they are there to be reminded of who Jesus is. The beloved son of God.

And Jesus shows mercy and grace, even to Peter. The one who thinks he knows what is happening, but really doesn’t have a clue.

But isn’t that really all of us?

We think we know, but thankfully God loves us any way and continues to shine in our lives.

So Shine on me Jesus and help me to be a beacon for your love.

 

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