…do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
– 1 Peter 3:6 NASB
Heeding this sort of exhortation would make sense no matter who uttered the words. However, given that they come from Peter, we have all the more reason to pay attention.
Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee – not an occupation for a weak or timid man. The work was hard. The men who performed it were constantly exposed to the elements.
In following Jesus so closely, Peter was aware of the rising opposition to Him from the Jewish authorities. And no Jew could be unaware of the heavy hand of Roman rule that was ready to crush any Jewish force deemed to be hostile. Yet Peter was not deterred by either of these dangers. He kept following Jesus.
Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.
– Matthew 26:31-35 NASB
Later that night, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave who was trying to arrest Jesus. So we know Peter wasn’t a blowhard.
What’s really ironic is that Peter ended up fulfilling what Jesus prophesied when asked by a servant girl. What accounts for this? How can Peter be all “macho” when outnumbered by armed opposition and then unwilling to even admit his knowledge of Jesus to a lone girl?
The answer lies in the subtlety and depths of the human heart. When life is unfolding as we expect it to unfold, we have our prepared responses which we can employ. However, when life presents us with experiences and circumstances we did not foresee, we then learn things about ourselves that we did not think were true.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, You know my heart far better than I know it. Make me aware of what perils lie in my blind spots…and lead me not into temptation…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.