May 2, 2017: Are You Standing By the Fire or Jumping into it?

Morning: Matt. 26:69-27:2Noon: 1 Kin. 10:14-14:18; Evening: Psa. 72:8-20

All fall short of the glory of God according to the apostle Paul, and the apostle Peter was no exception. Most of us probably know and remember Peter’s triple-decker denial of the Lord preceding Jesus’ horrific execution. All four gospel accounts reveal it, even John’s. It would be an embarrassing account for any follower of the Lord, and unfortunately for Peter his life’s account in Scripture would have to bare it for all to see. It is especially shameful when we consider that the Son of Man is about to suffer all for men, but the sons of men won’t even so much as a suffer a little for Him.

How do good people sin? Peter was a good man. He fulfilled his role as father, a husband, and as a disciple of Jesus. So how do good people commit such glaring and undeniable sin? Peter played the part of a hypocrite in this instance, but he wasn’t a hypocrite. He truly loved the Lord and worshiped Him. After sinning, and realizing his sin, Scripture reveals to us Peter’s bitter weeping that immediately followed afterward. How do good people commit undeniable sin? Though Matthew does not explicitly state it, and there may be no one particular answer, it should be evident to us all that fear got the best of Peter. In fact, a similar episode appears in Peter’s later years where the apostle Paul gives another account of Peter’s momentary hypocrisy, eating with Gentiles then withdrawing himself away from them to eat with the Jews. Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that he feared those of the circumcision, i.e. Jewish Christians (Galatians 2:12).

Fear is a great stumbling block to good people. Good people laugh at crude jokes because they fear what the group might think of them. Good people neglect to speak about God in public settings because they fear what others might say to them. Good people spend little time doing good for others because they fear being rejected or wasting time for lack of the world’s growing depreciation for good things. Good people fear the unknown like most others. What will they say of me? What will they do to me? Good people sometimes fear standing apart from the rest, and would rather stand by the fire to warm themselves like Peter did, rather than jumping into the fire (John 18:18). But good people can’t afford to stand by the fire. They need to jump into the fire. Are you standing by the fire, or are you jumping into it? Good people need to stand up. Good people need to do good. Good people need to speak out, even when no one else is listening. I refuse to be found standing by the fire. What about you?

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7)

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