Strengthened by suffering
Peter told him, “Even if everyone falls away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to him, “today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he kept insisting, “If I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” And they all said the same thing. Mark 14:29-31 Before Jesus was arrested, Peter proudly asserted that he will not turn his back to Jesus. “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will not.” (Mark 14:29). Yet God knew from the start that some of His disciples will turn their backs from Jesus and this included Peter. The Scriptures had prophesied it. God always knew the disciples would fail His Son. Jesus will not be surprised when this happens. He knows that eventually though they fail, they will change and will develop a longing for a relationship with Him. They will become completely sold out to Jesus! They would fearlessly share the gospel, perform miracles, and teach others. The pressure of standing up for his faith as prophesied, Peter denied Jesus three times. The difficult circumstances the disciples were facing caused them to get in despair and left Jesus. We tend at times to be naïve with our commitment to God asserting that there is no way we will desert God. Yet, there will be times where it seems that events are lined up that could lead us to doubt our relationship with God. As we follow Jesus we will face moments of great anguish. The heaviness of our circumstances will provide rude awakening that we cannot take for granted our relationship with God. After Jesus told His disciples that they will desert Him, He invited Peter, James, and John to join Him at the Garden of Gethsemane while He prayed. He did this so they could see His agony as He was about to face His suffering, crucifixion and death on the cross. In this way, the disciples will realize that there will be trials and suffering in life that would seemed to be unbearable and that the only way to overcome is to come to God in prayer. Following Christ involves hardships and to be presumptuous about our commitment could lead to great disappointment. It is by His grace alone that we could stand strong and living faithfully for God. If you are facing challenges that seem overwhelming, don’t be discouraged. God already knows and had already foreknown them and He is prepared to help you respond. It is God who will work His will in our life and all He asks of us is to trust Him and be obedient. “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
Noel De Guzman