When I Think I Stand, I Fall | Matthew 26:69-75


Mat 26:69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, "You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean." Mat 26:70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. Mat 26:71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth. " Mat 26:72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. "I don't even know the man," he said. Mat 26:73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, "You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent." Mat 26:74 Peter swore, "A curse on me if I'm lying—I don't know the man!" And immediately the rooster crowed. Mat 26:75 Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me." And he went away, weeping bitterly.

An amazing quote from the book "Christ's Object Lessons" by Ellen G. White which brings out this moment in clarity and truth...

For each of the classes represented by the Pharisee and the publican there is a lesson in the history of the apostle Peter. In his early discipleship Peter thought himself strong. Like the Pharisee, in his own estimation he was "not as other men are." When Christ on the eve of His betrayal forewarned His disciples, "All ye shall be offended because of Me this night," Peter confidently declared, "Although all shall be offended, yet will not I." Mark 14:27, 29.Peter did not know his own danger. Self-confidence misled him. He thought himself able to withstand temptation; but in a few short hours the test came, and with cursing and swearing he denied his Lord.

When the crowing of the cock reminded him of the words of Christ, surprised and shocked at what he had just done he turned and looked at his Master. At that moment Christ looked at Peter, and beneath that grieved look, in which compassion and love for him were blended, Peter understood himself. He went out and wept bitterly. That look of Christ's broke his heart. Peter had come to the turning point, and bitterly did he repent his sin. He was like the publican in his contrition and repentance, and like the publican he found mercy. The look of Christ assured him of pardon.

Now his self-confidence was gone. Never again were the old boastful assertions repeated.

Christ after His resurrection thrice tested Peter. "Simon, son of Jonas," He said, "lovest thou Me more than these?" Peter did not now exalt himself above his brethren. He appealed to the One who could read His heart. "Lord," he said, "Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee." John 21:15, 17.

Then he received his commission. A work broader and more delicate than had heretofore been his was appointed him. Christ bade him feed the sheep and the lambs. In thus committing to his stewardship the souls for whom the Saviour had laid down his own life, Christ gave to Peter the strongest proof of confidence in his restoration. The once restless, boastful, self-confident disciple had become subdued and contrite. Henceforth he followed his Lord in self-denial and self-sacrifice. He was a partaker of Christ's sufferings; and when Christ shall sit upon the throne of His glory, Peter will be a partaker in His glory. {COL 154.3}

The evil that led to Peter's fall and that shut out the Pharisee from communion with God is proving the ruin of thousands today. There is nothing so offensive to God or so dangerous to the human soul as pride and self-sufficiency. Of all sins it is the most hopeless, the most incurable.

Peter's fall was not instantaneous, but gradual. Self-confidence led him to the belief that he was saved, and step after step was taken in the downward path, until he could deny his Master. Never can we safely put confidence in self or feel, this side of heaven, that we are secure against temptation. Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading. Every one should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation. God's word declares, "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried." Dan. 12:10. Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life. (James 1:12.)

Those who accept Christ, and in their first confidence say, I am saved, are in danger of trusting to themselves. They lose sight of their own weakness and their constant need of divine strength. They are unprepared for Satan's devices, and under temptation many, like Peter, fall into the very depths of sin. We are admonished, "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor. 10:12. Our only safety is in constant distrust of self, and dependence on Christ. CHRIST'S OBJECT LESSONS, AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 13 [read the whole chapter here]

Distrust of self and confidence in Christ

We all need a healthy distrust of ourselves and a boost in our confidence in Jesus Christ. This is why faith is both and action and a state of being. Anyone can claim to have faith in Christ or even to have full confidence in His saving power; but it is those who move forward in obedience to the word and will of God that will be found among the truly faithful.

Obedience is not legalism. True obedience is not "earning salvation" or "denying the power of grace"; it is putting ALL, I repeat ALL of your faith and trust in Christ. A father/son example might go something like this...

A father and a son are walking along a steep cliff in the deep forest. Suddenly the father stops and tells the son to jump off that cliff into rushing waters. Does the son trust the father enough to just do it, even though it seems a harmful act? Will the son question the father and deny his power to protect him? If the son trusts the father implicitly, and not his own understanding, then he will make the jump. But, if the son has faith in himself, he may question the motives and reasoning of the father and not make the jump. In either case, what the son doesn't know and the father does, is that there is a large Grizzly bear charging down from the trees headed straight for the son.

Obedience is listening to and doing the will of our Father in Heaven, even when it doesn't make sense to us. Obedience is a display of dependence upon Christ.

There is coming a time very soon where God's true followers will have to stand against persecution, even here in American. This persecution will be so strong because it will be coming from the very people who claim to love God. They will hate God's true followers because of their acts of obedience which will lay bare the reality of the false believers lost state.

Christ forgave Peter for putting so much faith in himself. When Peter saw that and understood, he became a great worker for Jesus. Great in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of man.


Father in Heaven,

I praise Your Name today. I know that I have no power within myself to change myself. Today I submit my will to You and ask that You would continue to change me. Show me where I need to change and give me the power to do Your will. Help my unbelief. Increase my faith.

Thank You for all that You do in my life. Thank you for the wonderful and amazing justifying sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I accept that gift today and I ask that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit.

Watch over my children. Keep them safe from harm. Be with Julie and protect her from the evil that is trying to end her life. Rest Your mighty hand of healing upon her and thwart the plans of the enemy. In this, as in all things, may Your Will be done. Amen.

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