Today's Reading - Matthew 26:14-35
When I began praying through what portion of this text to write about. I was very conflicted because this text covers so many important portions of scripture. It is where Judas betrays Jesus and sets in motion the most profound event that has ever, or will ever happen in human history. Namely Jesus’ death on the cross. It covers how Jesus has full knowledge of what is to come, even down to who is going to betray him for what is today's equivalent of $25. This proves that Jesus could have tried to stop Judas but instead willingly goes to the cross. What love!
It also covers the first ever communion service where Jesus sits down with the disciples and enjoys the bread and wine in a new way, thereby teaching them how to pass down the story of Jesus’ body and blood which was broken and poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. He leads them through the exact same process that we still follow nearly 2,000 years later. Also an extremely significant event.
Then lastly, it shows Jesus as He quoted Zechariah chapter 13: “Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered”. He is referring to how all of the disciples will fall away that very night. Peter refuses to see himself as a coward and tells Jesus that even though all may fall away that he never will. To which Jesus famously replies: “Truly I tell you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times. Again Peter replies that even if he has to die he will not deny Christ and all the disciples agreed with him.
A lot happens in these 21 verses but what I want to wrestle with today is grace. Grace is easy to earn, because it is given undeservingly, but is difficult to accept because we feel unworthy. When Jesus is talking with Peter at the end of this section He knows that Peter will deny Him. He knows that He will be left alone without a friend in the world and even though Peter is so fervent in his decision to stick with Christ, he will not only run and leave Him in His time of greatest need, but will also publicly deny Him 3 times in the hours that follow.
In spite of all of this Jesus still uses Peter just 50 days later to begin “the way” or the church. That's right just 50 days after Peter’s greatest failure, and probably lowest moment in his entire life, he is given the privilege to be the one who preaches on the Day of Pentecost. He is allowed to be the Pétros or Rock on which Christ builds His church. He is shown grace and not because he earned it, but because he accepted it, he was given the privilege of being the one who set in motion a revolution that has continued to this day, and will continue until the end of time.
We need to learn to lean into the Grace that Christ offers before we can ever be used to our full potential. We must let go of our past and be able to live in the truth that when we accept Christ we are a new creation and that the old is dead and new now lives. Peter left his short comings in the past and stepped into the future that Christ has orchestrated for him. Will you be able to to the same?
Do we let our past define our future?
Do we live in the regret and pain of our shortcomings, or do lean into the grace that only God can provide?
If you had one week left would you be able to let God use you to your full potential or would you be held captive by your past?
Ok put down the Bible and live this week like it was your last!
by Josh Vaughan