“Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:72
When I was a high school ED/BD teacher, I had to give a presentation in front of seventy-five or so fellow teachers. I was supposed to share what kind of help students with special needs received in my room, how we supported them with test taking, study skills and so on. Unfortunately, the content of my presentation was completely overshadowed by goat girl. Whenever I used to speak in front of more than about five people, my voice would get so shaky I would sound like I was about to start crying (in fact a few people asked me after the in-service if I was okay because they thought I was going to). I’m sure I had visible pit stains and I can’t imagine what my blood pressure was. One of my biggest fears has always been public speaking.
So how is it that I now speak regularly to tens, hundreds and even a few times fifteen hundred or so people without getting goat voice? How is it that not only do I not dread speaking in front of people, I love it and actively pursue opportunities to do so? What happened?
I believe Peter meant it when he told Jesus “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” I believe Peter loved Jesus. But I also believe when Peter was warming himself by the fire in the courtyard of the high priest while Jesus was being interrogated then flogged, Peter could have stuck his hand in the fire and not felt a thing. Fear paralyzes us. Fear takes good intentions, emphatic statements and things we really believe and mangles, convolutes and rationalizes them away. Fear wears us down, makes us back away and always leaves us with regret.
In Acts however, Peter was changed. Peter told Annas and Caiaphas (the same priests who questioned Jesus and had him flogged), “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” Although fear kept Peter from defending Jesus against Annas and Caiaphas in the courtyard, after Easter, Peter without any fear, hesitation or pit stains stood up to them and unequivocally defended himself, John and the name of Jesus Christ.
I heard a sermon by Stuart Briscoe recently where he asked a simple question: How brightly has Easter dawned in your heart? What difference has Easter – the risen Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, what difference has it made in your life. How has it changed you? If you haven’t had a goat like transformation after an encounter with the resurrected King before, perhaps this is the Easter.
How brightly has Easter dawned in your heart? #holyweek #thankyouJesus