The God Who Kneels – Day 40

The Third Rejection

 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

                                                                                Matthew 27:46

There was a third rejection, born not of hate or fear, but of love. This rejection was there from the beginning and informed everything Jesus said and did in the upper room. It was this divine abandonment that preoccupied the mind of Jesus from start to finish. The experience of being God-forsaken was far more painful to Jesus than either Peter’s denial or Judas’ betrayal. And it was this rejection that ended not in suicide nor in repentance, but in salvation. The Father’s providential abandonment of the Son is the great theological truth that looms large on Maundy Thursday. Judas’s betrayal was based on treachery. Peter’s denial was based on timidity. But the Father’s relationship was based on trust. The agonizing line from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is not quoted in our text, but it lies behind everything said and done in John 13. In a matter of hours Jesus will cry out this lament from the cross and the apostle John, who sat next to Jesus at the table, will hear it from the foot of the cross (John 19:26).

Jesus exposed Judas’ perfidy, confronted Peter’s pride, and agonized over the Father’s purpose. Any one of these concerns would have been hard enough to endure, but to add up all three, only compounds the tremendous burden Jesus was under. We are told how Jesus felt even before he got to the upper room. “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27). It is the Father’s rejection for the sake of our salvation that truly accounts for Jesus’ deep distress. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” Jesus explained to his disciples in Gethsemane. “Abba, Father,” Jesus cried, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Matthew 26:39). These thoughts were not far removed from Jesus in the upper room when he shed his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist.

Jesus is both one with God and God-forsaken. This is the tension that runs through John 13. He is one with the Father, but forsaken by the Father. For Jesus to be abandoned by the Father, due to our sin and for the sake of our salvation, is the ultimate rejection and Jesus experienced this all for us. Between foot-washing humility and the humility of being God-forsaken, Jesus was humbled absolutely. There was no other way that Jesus could be humbled. His humility covers the entire range from mundane menial service to the ultimate divine abandonment. As shocking as Judas’ betrayal was it cannot compare to the reality of  being God-forsaken: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning” (Psalm 22). As disappointing as Peter’s denial was it cannot compare to being “stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.”

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

Judas’ betrayal was a cruel sin against humanity. Peter’s denial was a sin typical of humanity. But the Father’s  rejection was for the sin of humanity—your sin and mine. Judas’ betrayal is shocking; it angers us. Peter’s denial is unsettling, it unnerves us. But the Father’s rejection humbles us, like nothing else imaginable, and fills us with love for Jesus who took it all, paid it all and gave his all that we might be reconciled to God through him. Because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we live in restored fellowship and redeemed communion with our heavenly Father. Because of him we find ourselves along this redemptive continuum walking the path that Jesus walked. As his followers, we participate in the foot-washing and cross-bearing. The God who kneels empowers us to get down on our knees to wash the feet of others.

 

Upper Room Reflection

If Jesus was aware of these troubling rejections, why was his upper room teaching so positive and powerful?

Which rejection was the most difficult for Jesus to experience?

If we are never abandoned by the Father, the way Jesus was, why do we resist the will of God?

How can the will of God, even when it means pain and suffering, be motivated out of the Father’s deep love for us?

 

 

The God Who Kneels – Day 39

Our Passion Narrative

“Will you really lay down your life for me?”

                                                                                                 John 13:38

In Christ we enter into our own passion narrative. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. The scandal of the Cross, the murder of God, takes place in the midst of political ambiguity and seemingly accidental circumstances. I remember being troubled as a thirteen year-old by the death of Dr. Paul Carlson, a medical missionary in the Republic of Congo. Carlson was falsely accused by the rebel Simbas of being a major in the American military. His long track record of being a medical doctor and church leader in the Congo was betrayed by false accusations and allegations.

On November 24, as Belgium paratroopers were landing in Stanleyville, a large group of hostages, including Carlson, were led by their Simba guards out into the middle of the street where they were caught in the cross-fire. In the malay some of the hostages were hit, others ran for cover. A small group ran to the shelter of a house and clambered over the porch wall. One of the hostages leaped over the wall and reached back to grab Carlson. He had his fingers on Paul’s sweater when a young Simba rounded the corner and fired off five shots, killing Paul Carlson instantly. A second or two later and he would have been over the wall. As I remember it, his dead body was shown through out the world on a full page in Life magazine.

I questioned God’s sovereignty. To my impressionable mind, Dr. Carlson was more a victim of tragic circumstances than an ambassador for Christ who gave his life for the gospel. Since then, I have come to see that the Christian’s cross, like Jesus’ cross, must be interpreted on two levels. On the one level, confusion and ambiguity surround the meaning of our suffering. From this perspective, Dr. Carlson’s death appears meaningless. He was the victim of tragic circumstances that might have been different. Why didn’t God give him an extra two seconds to clear the wall?

But seen from another angle, Paul Carlson died like his Lord. The seemingly random circumstances and political upheaval cannot comprehend the deeper meaning of his life and sacrifice. The surface meaning of the accidental moment does not come close to comprehending the orchestrated movement of the sovereign plan of God. Dr. Paul Carlson laid down his life for his Lord.

Jesus appears as the victim of circumstances—a friend betrays him, popular sentiment turns against him, a ruler concerned only with political expediency hears his case, and his disciples abandon him. But then we grasp a deeper truth. Jesus dies (in accord with Old Testament prophecy) as the lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world (Luke 24:25-27; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). There is an inevitability about his death that lies outside historical circumstances and human arrangements. We cannot begin to understand the suffering and death of Jesus apart from God’s interpretation of the event. God infuses the Cross with meaning from three primary sources: the history of God’s revelation to Israel, Jesus’ self-disclosure, and the apostolic witness. There is a tremendous redemptive purpose arising out of the muddle of historical circumstances. This glorious purpose is not the product of human imagination and wishful thinking. It is the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan of redemption. The real scandal of the Cross lies in the fact that God in Christ, the Savior of the world, was crucified.

Four months before Paul Carlson died he preached in Lingala at the Wasolo Regional Church Conference on 1 Peter 2:21-24:

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. . .He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

“At this conference,” Paul began, “we are going to think about following Jesus. It is not hard to follow Jesus when all goes well, but sometimes it is difficult to follow Him when the road is difficult.” After he described the state of  persecution for Christ’s sake in various regions in the Congo, he said, “We do not know what will happen in 1964, until we meet together again. We do not know if we will suffer or die during this year because we are Christians. But it does not matter! Our job is to follow Jesus.”

From the New Testament, Carlson described the persecution experienced by the early church. “How does all of this apply to us at Wasolo?” Paul asked. “Jesus is asking us if we are willing to suffer for Him. This is of the greatest importance to all of us Christians here today.” Then Paul introduced the sacrament of Holy Communion. He said, “We are going to gather together at the Lord’s Table. Before taking part, I think each person should ask themselves if they are willing to suffer for Jesus Christ if need be—and if he or she is willing even to die if necessary—during this coming year. Taking part in Communion means union with Jesus. Union with Jesus sometimes means joy—but union with Jesus sometimes means suffering. My friends, if today you are not willing to suffer for Jesus, do not partake of the elements. If you do take the cup and bread here today, be certain that you are willing to give your life for Jesus during 1964 or 1965 if it is necessary. To follow Jesus means to be willing to suffer for Him. Will you follow Jesus this year?”[1]

Within two months many of the Congolese believers who heard Carlson’s sermon that day and participated in Holy Communion were dead. Severe persecution fell heavy on the church. Along with Paul Carlson, these martyrs leave a testimony that inspires and challenges our faithfulness for Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and the trajectory of obedience is no mystery.

 

Upper Room Reflection

 We live and die by faith. How does that truth impact our interpretation of Paul Carlson’s death? 

Do you agree that all Christians live out a passion narrative?

When did you first realize that your life was marked by the cross of Jesus Christ?

What does it mean to you to lay down your life for Christ?



[1]  Lois Carlson, Monganga Paul (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 127-130.

The God Who Kneels – Day 38


Deep Awakening 

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.”  John 13:19

 

The cross of Christ overshadows everything said and done in the upper room. We have explored the relationship between the doctrine of the atonement and the praxis of discipleship. We have examined the fault lines running through this text. We have embraced the tension between Jesus’ passion narrative and our own as we join him on the path of discipleship. Like our Lord we are moving to the cross. From foot-washing to martyrdom, there is a place for us on this continuum of humility and glory. Foot-washing is neither a liturgical rite nor a moralistic act of kindness. God himself on bended knee has given us a way to live that runs counter to the world’s understanding of success and significance. Our fallen human quest for recognition and admiration is seen for what it is in the light of Jesus’ humility. The honorific culture that pervades the church is critiqued by the humble glory of the God who kneels.

The clash between our fallen human condition and God’s redemptive provision strikes at the heart of John 13. The church continues to wrestle with sin-twisted personalities and ambitions along a spectrum that ranges from Peter’s ego-needs to Judas’ self-destructive contempt. Table fellowship in the upper room was the context for exposing and confronting these challenges. Most preaching takes place today in a large room with a large audience. Preachers give a sermon and the congregation listens. Little dialogue or interaction exists either before or after the sermon. Instead of wrestling as a group with the implications of what it means to follow Jesus, each individual is left to interpret and apply the sermon for themselves.

English Puritan John Bunyan (1628-1688) author of the classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, describes in his lesser known work, Grace Abounding, an encounter with a group of women “sitting at a door in the sun, and talking about the things of God.”  Bunyan describes their conversation as filled with joy and spiritual depth. They discussed specific Bible passages and applied them personally. Bunyan found their knowledge and sincerity impressive and by observing their true spirituality his own spiritual condition came under review.

Scottish Pastor Alexander Whyte draws an impressive lesson from Bunyan’s description. God uses godly, intimate conversation “for the deeper awakening and the deeper undeceiving” of those who follow Christ.[1] Left to ourselves we do not know ourselves. We need a gathering small enough and intimate enough so that true friends can help one another grow in Christ. Preachers alone, no matter how good, cannot produce this soul-searching spiritual formation. But a small group of people who are earnest about their souls, will make a difference. “Not a club for questions of theological science, or for questions of Old and New Testament criticism, or even for pulpit and pastoral efficiency,” insists Whyte. “But for questions that are arising within us all every day concerning our own corrupt hearts.”[2]

The upper room was the right setting for the deep awakening and deep undeceiving that needed to take place, not only for the original Twelve, but for all Christ’s disciples. Prayerful meditation on John 13 undermines the mis-perception that allows for nominal Christianity. There is no room in the upper room for name-only admirers of Jesus. If we cannot find ourselves in this picture of purity of heart, soul-cleansing intimacy with the God, then we need to re-examine our relationship with the Lord Jesus. As we have seen, Jesus gently exposed Judas’ sham performance and patiently worked with Peter’s stubborn character. But the description does not end with two individuals, instead it extends to all of us. The God who kneels insists on washing all of the disciples feet. Figuratively speaking, all who follow Christ belong around this table to be cleansed, redeemed, and discipled.

The whole Church fits into the upper room. We all need the scrutiny and intensity of this intimate encounter with Jesus. To receive the God who kneels is to be open to Jesus’ soul-defining, life-transforming ministry. The whole Church needs his soul-cleansing power and his mission-defining love.

Jesus embodied his teaching ministry in the upper room dramatically. What had been said before was now demonstrated in an act of humility. Jesus contrasted top-down hierarchical leadership with sacrificial service. He disqualified the superior/inferior axis of power and in its place instituted humble service. To be first was to be a slave of all. Jesus linked the praxis of discipleship and the doctrine of the atonement by modeling sacrificial service after his atoning sacrifice.

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).

We have seen how Jesus’ humility, patience, wisdom and love grew out of his self-understanding. He knew the hour had come. He knew he was going to leave this world and go to the Father. He knew who were his own and he loved them to the end. He knew the Father had put all things under his power and he knew he had come from God and was returning to God. But in the midst of all of this empowering self-knowledge, there was also the negative knowledge of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. Nevertheless, Jesus remained true to his calling and his mission. Life in Christ is like that. Knowing and being known by God does not eliminate conflicts, in fact it only deepens them. If we are going to follow Jesus and obey the will of the Father as he obeyed, and lead the way he led, and love the way he loved, then we are in for a life marked by the cross.

 

Upper Room Reflection

How does your setting help you embrace the deep truth of John 13?

Why can’t nominal Christianity survive in the upper room?

What can we learn from the upper room that inspires effective disciple-making?

How have you learned that cross-bearing is not optional?

 

 



[1]Alexander Whyte, Bunyan Characters (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), p. 55-57.

[2] Whyte, p. 58.

The God Who Kneels – Day 37

 The Crowing Rooster

“Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”

                                                                                                                 John 13:38

 

Peter’s denial was emphatic. He reinforced it with expletives and oaths (Mark 14:71). A hasty denial might have been said without thinking, and a second chance could have led Peter to reconsider. But instead, his timidity grew, his resolve weakened, and he denied the Lord a second time with more conviction than the first. “I don’t know the man!” he announced. By now Peter’s rejection had worn a groove in his conscience. Having crossed the line twice, he didn’t hesitate to lie and deceive with as much boldness as he was capable of. He called down curses on himself and announced his denial for all to hear. Once, it might have been a moment of weakness quickly taken back. Twice, an unmistakable denial. Three times, an undeniable pattern of denial.

The abrasive sound of a crowing rooster cutting the predawn quiet reminded Peter of what Jesus said, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Jesus could have simply said that Peter would deny him before dawn. Instead, he tied Peter’s awareness to sound rather than to sight. Suddenly, the everyday, early morning sound of the crowing rooster became a soul-penetrating alarm. Peter’s memory flashed back to their earlier exchange. He instinctively turned toward Jesus and Luke tells us that “the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (Luke 22:61).

Up until this point we are not aware that Jesus and Peter were in visual range. How painful this moment must have been for Jesus. He was being spat upon, punched and slapped, but no blow had the force of Peter’s denials (Matthew 26:67). The early church found in Psalm 88 a sad description of this painful scene: “You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief.” Regardless of the intensity of the abuse he was suffering, he heard the rooster and looked at Peter. Kierkegaard asks, “And how did Christ look at Peter? Was it a repelling look, a look of dismissal? No, it was as a mother sees her child endangered through its own indiscretion; since she cannot approach and snatch the child, she catches him up with a reproachful but also saving look.”[1] We are told that Peter “went outside and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). The emerging dawn and the sound of the rooster forever associated in Peter’s mind with the blessing of a painful awareness. A necessary blessing on the way to repentance and reconciliation.

Many years ago a friend was arrested for drunk driving and spent a night in jail. To this day the sound of an iron gate clanging shut reminds him of that night when the jail door slammed behind him. Every time a dish falls and breaks, another friend remembers the time she broke a cherished dish belonging to her sister. She swept up the shattered pieces, buried them in the backyard and never told her sister. Thirty-five years passed before she admitted to her sister what she had done. Certain sounds trigger the conscience. Would Peter ever forget the deeper meaning of the crowing rooster? Long after forgiveness, the sound of a rooster recalled the pain: the sound of his curse, the look in Jesus’ eyes, and the agony of soul.

But Peter’s denial and the crowing rooster is only half the story. The unmistakable sound of the rooster reminded Peter of God’s love and mercy. For Peter, the crowing rooster signaled the demise of willful self-rule and ego strength. Pride came to an abrupt end in bitter tears of personal repentance. The night of denial gave way to the morning of deliverance. The sound of the rooster ended the night and heralded the light. It was fitting that some time later, after the resurrection, Jesus restored Peter one morning by the Sea of Galilee. You recall that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And Peter answered three times, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you…Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you” (John 21:15-17).

Later when the apostle Peter emphasized the importance of the Word of God, he encouraged believers “to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Peter’s reference to the morning star was a reference to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (see Revelation 2:28; 22:16), and now when Peter woke in the morning to the sound of a rooster, he was not filled with grief, but with joy. As the psalmist said, “…Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). No one knew better than Peter the truth of Lamentations 3:23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

The rooster is a strange biblical image, but it was Jesus who drew it to Peter’s attention and subsequently to us. We were meant to hear the crowing rooster as a reminder to be watchful and vigilant. As Peter said, “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13). We were never meant to trust in ourselves nor compare ourselves to others. The early morning crowing rooster was an effective daily reminder for Peter and the early church that each new day was to be lived in the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Peter’s willful activism was slowly, but surely, transformed into willed passivity, and among the disciples he became an example of the discipline of surrender. If you don’t live within the sound of a crowing rooster you could transfer the soul triggering significance of the rooster’s wake-up call to your alarm clock.

 

Upper Room Reflection

The crowing rooster provoked pain. How was it a blessing?

Do you agree with Kierkegaard’s interpretation of the way Jesus looked at Peter?

If you were Peter would you have been haunted by the sound of a crowing rooster?

Have you experienced repentance as a gift?

 



[1] Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love trans. Howard and Edna Hong (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), 166.

The God Who Kneels – Day 36


An Ego Challenge

“Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

                                           Matthew 26:33

 

The difference between Judas and Peter is the difference between deception and weakness. Treachery is not the same as timidity. Contempt for Jesus is not the same as false confidence in one’s ability to stand for Jesus. Both lead to sin, but being hateful is different from being hurtful. Judas wanted to expose Jesus as a fraud, but Peter wanted to be faithful to Jesus. Judas was filled with regret, but Peter was filled with repentance. We are meant to see ourselves in Peter, but no one was ever meant to identify with Judas.

A crowing rooster should remind us not only of Peter’s denials, but of how much we are like Peter. As one writer said, “All disciples can profit by a careful study of how the ‘Rock’ turned to ‘sand’ in his most critical test.”[1] Peter makes me nervous. Comparing myself to him is like standing too close to the edge of Niagara Falls. Peter’s ego drove him to the edge and he fell. If the representative disciple, a member of Jesus’ inner circle, could fall like that, so can I. The nature of Peter’s experience is too close to our own to be ignored. His vulnerability to sin reminds us of our own. We find it easy, all too easy, to identity with him. We share his pride, practice his brand of foolishness, and experience his lack of courage and faithfulness.

Peter’s pride was embarrassingly transparent. Not to himself of course, but to all of us who hear him brag. He illustrates the Proverb: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). When Jesus said, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me,” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). It is this bold and brash claim made by the impetuous, outspoken Peter that gets our attention. There is nothing humble about the rhetoric of self-confidence. Peter’s chest-thumping one-upmanship is like the pre-game hype before the big game. We instinctively ask, “How could Peter say such a thing?” With the rest of the disciples standing right there, Peter’s single comment turned loyalty to Jesus into a competition with himself as the self-proclaimed winner (see Galatians 6:4). Pride is insidious because it often separates us from reality and from others, without knowing it.

What do you think would have happened if John had pulled Peter aside and said, “Will you get a grip? Listen to yourself! Where do you get off claiming to be better than the rest of us?” We don’t read that John or any of the other disciples said anything to Peter. The reason we are seldom confronted about our pride is because pride, although so obvious to others, is such a tough sin to expose to the proud. Pride is a form of self-deception and when we deceive ourselves it is almost impossible for us to see the truth. Like Peter, we believe our own self-talk. What Peter felt was courage and loyalty for the Master, was really only self-centered pride! What sounded so bold and spiritual quickly turned into denials and curses. When prides runs its course, it leaves us as it left Peter disillusioned and frustrated.

Peter’s courage depended upon an ego challenge rather than a spiritual challenge. I believe under certain conditions Peter would have made good on his claim to lay down his life for Jesus (John 13:37). The evidence for this can be seen in the garden of Gethsemane. When Peter was confronted, he reacted by fighting back. As you might expect, if only two disciples were armed one of them would have had to be Peter (Luke 22:38). Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Immediately, Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11).  Why was Peter willing to risk his life in hand-to-hand combat in the garden, but afraid to admit to a servant girl that he knew Jesus?  This doesn’t appear to make sense until one realizes the nature of the conflicting challenges.

In the garden it was a challenge to Peter’s bravery, his willingness to fight and his readiness to put his life on the line for the cause. Peter was up to the ego challenge. But alone in the high priest’s courtyard, with no surrounding audience, Peter was unwilling to admit that he was one of Jesus’ disciples. He was all set to man-up for the ego challenge, but he shriveled up when it came to the witness challenge. When his own ego was not in question and his macho image was not threatened, Peter found it easy to deny that he ever knew Jesus. The servant girl got from Peter what an armed Centurion would have been unable to extract – a denial! She made it easy for him, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” (John 18:17).  It is not too difficult to imagine Peter writing this servant girl off as inconsequential. She didn’t matter. She didn’t deserve the truth. Some people might chalk this up to a low rung denial, made necessary by the climb up the corporate ladder of success. Does a two word deflection, “Not me,” constitute a denial? Note that Peter was not asked if he believed in Jesus. He was asked if he was “one of his disciples.” Dale Bruner writes, “We may not think that we are denying or disowning Christ when we deny or disassociate ourselves from his always problematic Church, but Peter’s experience teaches us to think again.”

In a sanctuary, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, we are brave souls, but put us in a university classroom or in an office or at a social gathering, and it’s easy to see how denial happens. “Surely you don’t believe in this Jesus stuff, do you?” The world expects our agreement and it’s easier to go along than to take a stand. We may dodge and deflect, but in the end the right word for it is denial.

What if Peter had not made his proud boast after Jesus had warned the disciples that they were all going to fall away? What if he had said, “Lord, we don’t want to fall away! How can we remain strong?” We have a good indication of how Jesus would have answered that question from his response to the exhausted disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. He encouraged them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). If the disciples had returned to the upper room and spent the night in prayer, they would have been more united than isolated. Instead of falling away they might have waited on God. Sadly, it wasn’t until after the cross that they returned to the upper room.

 

Upper Room Reflection

Can you see yourself in Peter’s reaction?

What is deceptive about the ego challenge?

Where are you most vulnerable to deflection and denial?

How would it have made a difference if the disciples had returned to the upper room and prayed?

 

 

 

 

 


[1] David W. Gill, Peter the Rock: Extraordinary Insights from an Ordinary Man (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 1986), p. 111.
[2] Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 1053.