I had the best surprise last night – one of the young women who used to be in my youth group (7 years ago) stopped by unannounced with her two-year-old daughter that I’d never met. I hadn’t seen this girl in six years, and really hadn’t even heard much about her. It was such a blessing to hear where all she’d been, what she’d been doing, which had included being a chef at the Greenbrier Sporting Club until she was involved in last summer’s flood and has now created a nonprofit group that she is the administrator of and is in charge of organizing sometimes 800 volunteers at a time, managing the fundraising, writing the grants, you name it. She was beautiful and animated, and we reminisced about old times and talked of the flood and all the devastation. I am so proud of her – what an incredible person she has turned out to be!
And that reminds me, once again, what a beautiful gift friendship is. I always say spending the day with a friend is like free therapy – once you’ve laughed and sometimes cried and shared your sorrows and your joys, you ALWAYS feel better! Tom and I have been at the beach for a little over a week renovating a condo we bought, and it was truly a torturous affair. We had about six days to get rid of tons of furniture, get new (used) furniture in, paint and stain the new stuff so it looks better, paint the walls, clean, organize, make custom valances, put stuff on the walls, you name it. We had 12-hour days and fell over at the end of all of them, but all the togetherness was really good. We laughed and laughed over stupid things, like Tom driving around Myrtle Beach making two trips to Sam’s Club for mattress and boxsprings sets and having them on the top of the little box trailer we took because they were too big to fit inside. Tal sends him this pic (below) that cracked us up and we sure were glad no one knew us, the WV Beverly Hillbillies.
One day, the wind was incredible – I mean, the force of it could knock you over. We were taking a load of things from the condo to Goodwill, and one of the things was this huge 5’ by 5’ painting of seagulls or some beachy bird that was over the couch – you know, those old paintings that they used to sell that are just huge. I’m carrying this thing out, and as I reach the main door, the wind catches it and it literally almost lifted me off my feet. I’m trying to turn it so it’s not sideways, and when I put it up over my head, it becomes like a hang gliding thing and is running me down the parking lot. I’m laughing so hard I about peed my pants, and I’m saying, “I sure wish we had a video of this!” Tom’s got his hands full as well, but he wasn’t carrying a huge kite like I was…..we laughed and laughed over that, but it was truly a miracle the thing didn’t just break in two or take me off the ground. It was a sight to see, and after it was over, we talked about how powerful the wind is, and totally unseen. If someone had watched that out the window, they would have thought I was crazy, dancing and prancing around with that picture pulling me every which way. Amazing how just a little laughter can turn a yucky day into a fun one.
As I was thinking this morning about the treat of a visit last night and thinking about it being Easter weekend, Peter’s betrayal came instantly to mind as one of the greatest disappointments in the whole resurrection story. Can you imagine being with Jesus 24/7, seeing all the miracles he performs, knowing that His father is the God of the wind and the sea, and this man having walked on water! And yet, even after being warned that he would do so, he betrays his friend, his Savior. Wow. If you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend, you know that sometimes that hurt is more powerful than being betrayed by your spouse. It’s a hurt that lives with you for a long, long time, and is a divorce of sorts. And yet Jesus showed us that hurt, and how He handled it. I found this article that was just great on why Peter could have done this.
Question: "What was the reason behind Peter's denial of Jesus?"
Answer: The story of Peter’s threefold denial of Christ is found in all four Gospel accounts: Matthew 26:69–74, Mark 14:66–72, Luke 22:55–62, and John 18:15–18, 25–27. But why would the chief of the disciples deny even knowing Him? There were two main reasons why Peter denied Jesus: weakness and fear.
Peter’s denial was based partially on weakness, the weakness born of human frailty. After the Last Supper, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to await His arrest. He told them to stay awake and pray while He went off to pray alone. When He returned to them, He found them sleeping. He warned Peter to stay awake and pray because, although his spirit might be willing, his flesh was weak. But he fell asleep again, and, by the time the soldiers had come to arrest Jesus, it was too late to pray for the strength to endure the ordeal to come. No doubt his failure to appropriate the only means to shore up his own weakness—prayer—occurred to him as he was weeping bitterly after his denials. But Peter learned his lesson about being watchful, and he exhorts us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be on the alert, because your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter’s weakness had caused him to be “devoured” momentarily as he denied his Lord because he hadn’t been prepared through prayer and he underestimated his own weakness.
A second reason for Peter’s failure was fear. To his credit, although all the others had fled (Mark 14:50), Peter still followed Jesus after His arrest, but he kept his distance so as not to be identified with Him (Mark 14:54). There’s no question that fear gripped him. From the courtyard, he watched Jesus being falsely accused, beaten, and insulted (Mark 14:57–66). Peter was afraid Jesus would die, and he was fearful for his own life as well. The world hated Jesus, and Peter found that he was not prepared to face the ridicule and persecution that Jesus was suffering. Earlier, Jesus had warned His disciples as well as us today, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 16:18; cf. Matthew 24:9). Peter quickly found he wasn’t nearly as bold and courageous as he had proclaimed, and in fear he denied the One who had loved him.
We might well wonder why Jesus allowed Peter to fail so miserably and deny his Lord three times that night. Jesus revealed to Peter that Satan had asked for permission to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31). Jesus could have easily protected Peter and not allowed Satan to sift him, but Jesus had a higher goal. He was equipping Peter to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:32). Not only did Peter strengthen the other disciples, but he became the pillar of the early church in Jerusalem, exhorting and training others to follow the Lord Jesus (Acts 2). And he continues to this day to strengthen us through his epistles, 1 and 2 Peter. As with all our failures, God used Peter’s many failures, including his three denials of Christ, to turn him from Simon, a common man with a common name, into Peter, the Rock.
Even after reading this article, I still think “Wow.” To live in those days, though, of turmoil and killing and uproar, we have no idea what we would do.
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.