Mercy sakes alive!
Have you ever been reading a Bible story that you thought was familiar, and then a detail pops out at you that you’ve never noticed before? That happened to me recently.
During my time with the Lord each day, I have been reading the story of the Christ. By reading through the Gospels, I get it four times in a row, through the eyes of four different men, all inspired by the same amazing God. In Mark chapter 14, Jesus explains to the disciples that all of them would deny him before the night was over.
I can just hear Peter’s indignant reply. “Even if everyone else abandons you, Lord, I never will!”
Jesus says, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny that you ever knew me three times.”
Peter comes back with even more force and says, “Even if I should die with you, Lord, I will refuse to deny you in any way.” The disciples around him backed him up by claiming the same allegiance. Without saying a word, Jesus walks on to Gethsemane.
Here, Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to pray with him. He came back from praying alone to find them sound asleep. Three times that happened! After the second time Jesus said, “Peter, couldn’t you even manage to pray with me for an hour?” The last moments Peter had with Jesus, he spent sleeping. Just moments later, Judas came and betrayed the Lord.
You know the rest of the story.
But here’s something that maybe you didn’t notice. As Peter was following Jesus at a distance, one of the maids of the palace of the high priest recognized him and asked if he was with Jesus of Nazareth. Peter denies her statement, claiming that he didn’t even know what she was talking about. He went out on the porch and
The rooster crowed.
Did you ever notice that? Peter must have heard that rooster’s cry. Did he remember what the Lord had said? He would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed twice. I think it’s significant that God ordained those words to be included in Scripture. Let’s keep going.
Soon after that, another maid saw Peter and began to tell the people around her that Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples.
But he denied it again.
Then a little after that, more people standing around Peter noticed that his accent was Galileean, and surmised that he was one of the disciples of Christ. With the same force that he had promised the Lord he would be faithful, Peter cursed and swore that he didn’t even know Jesus. From Luke 22:61, we know that in that moment, the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. Then, Peter remembered what Jesus had said and went out weeping bitterly.
I feel I can relate to Peter.
Gung-ho about serving Jesus. Even when trials come, I won’t question you, God. Even if my life is on the line, I won’t deny you.
But then, when I sleep past my alarm, when my coffee gets cold, when my feelings get hurt, when my life feels monotonous, when trials press in—I deny Him. My sinful actions say, “Who is Jesus?” My harsh, impatient words say, “I am not associated with Christ.”
I’m sure you’ve been there, too.
But, dear sisters, the story isn’t over yet!
After Jesus had been dead and buried for three days, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices to the tomb to anoint the body of their Lord. But when they arrived in the gray of the morning, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, and there was a young man dressed in white clothes seated where Jesus had lain. Naturally, the ladies were frightened. But the angel said,
Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
Get this now, girls. The angel continued and said,
But go your way, tell his disciples
Wow. After declaring absolute loyalty to Christ, Peter had failed to pray with him and then had denied Jesus three times. But glory, hallelujah! Jesus told that angel to make sure that Peter knew he was wanted. What mercy my Lord had on Peter. What mercy God shows to me.
For days I replayed that story in my heart, marveling at the mercy of God. But then, God reminded me of another verse in Scripture.
…what doth the Lord require of thee? But to do justly,
and to love mercy
And to walk humbly with thy God. ~ Micah 6:8
God wants me to do right, love mercy, and walk humbly. Okay, I see that connection, Lord. I can love to show mercy to others just like you showed mercy to Peter.
Then, He got even closer to home.
Right now my husband and I are completing a course on marriage and family produced by Kirk and Chelsea Cameron. It really has been so helpful. Check it out at this link! But one of the weeks, the assignment was to REFUSE to be critical of your spouse. Whenever the desire to criticize my man arose, I was to instead, show mercy and build him up.
Just to be brutally honest here…it was really hard. I mean SO hard! I didn’t even realize how many times a day I neglected to show mercy and give grace to the man God gave me to build up and respect.
Throughout those few days of Bible study, God opened my eyes to a major area in my heart that He wants to change. I wanted to share it with you, first of all, so you know that I’m a woman who struggles to thrive in her womanhood the Bible way. But also because I believe that showing mercy to others is an area we could all work on.
Let’s go forward today thriving in our womanhood the Bible way.
Refuse to deny Christ
in your actions and reactions, your thoughts and your words.
And choose to show God’s mercy
to the family you have and the people you know and work with. It was new for Peter at the sunrise of resurrection day, and that same beautiful, rescuing mercy is new for you this morning.
As I continue to learn this lesson, be on the lookout for a”how-to” blog post that will delve into practical ways to love mercy. And please, share your thoughts with me in the comments below, or shoot me a DM at my Instagram feed.