Lent Week Four – Peter’s Denial – Lou Heinrich

Welcome to the fourth week of Lent. Please take some time to listen to Lou’s message.

Lent Devotional Week Four: 

In her message, Lou says these words: “Human beings are a mess of contradictions, known as the idea of ‘the divided self’. We want opposing things, the Spirit is willing yet the flesh is weak,  we want to go on adventures yet we want to be safe, we want to serve God yet we want to fulfil our own desires. Such is the chaos of our inner selves.”

Lou shares that betrayal and failure is part of what it means to be human, but it also means things such as love,  warmth, beauty and kindness. This means that our human-ness will always form a part of what it is to follow Jesus too.  We won’t be able to follow perfectly, because we are not perfect and we shouldn’t allow our conflicts to make us feel shame as God knows the desires of our heart. God never expects perfection.

This what we see with the disciples in Matthew 26 and especially with Peter. There are so many examples in this chapter of the disciples getting it all wrong, even though they had lived with Jesus for three years.

We see at the Last Supper the disciples debating who is going to be the most in the new kingdom, even though Jesus preached an ‘upside down kingdom’ of last first and first last. In the garden, we see the disciples fall asleep even though Jesus had poured his heart out and asked them to pray and be with him.  Then Judas betrays him for money and another disciple uses violence to defend Jesus by cutting off a soldiers ear when they came to arrest him.  Peter then in fear denies knowing Jesus, just as Jesus told him he would.

This chapter is an exhibition of humanity and the divided self. The self that wishes to serve God humbly but also wants to gain things.  We see betrayal of deep moral convictions in the face of worldly concern.  We see ego, the selfish desire to fall asleep, the power of money, fame and success, the desire to dominate through aggressive means and of course, fear.

As this is part of our shared human experience and we know the suffering it can cause us, when are the times where you have betrayed what it is to follow Jesus?

What call has God given you? What are you afraid to follow or revisit because of the fear of failure? 

When we step up, as we risk more, there will be moments of failure however it’s not a reason to give up. God knows the contradictions that we face and the shame that we can feel, its why he has given us His Spirit to comfort us, to bring healing to us and to strengthen us in following the call that God has given us.

We are no different to the disciples, those who walked with Jesus and whom Jesus called his best friends. These ‘failures’ changed the world through their story.

Just like them, God will continue to trust us and entrust us with his call.