“Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire, they asked him again, ‘Aren’t you one of his disciples?’ ‘I am not,’ he said. But one of the household servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?’ Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.” (John 18:25-27)
Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and arrest by temple guards and Roman soldiers set in motion the redemptive work of the cross. Under interrogation by Annas and Caiaphas in an early morning hearing, Jesus boldly and consistently provided truthful testimony. Simon Peter, who stood in the shadows of these proceedings of Jesus’ hearing, was likewise interrogated by temple guards and household servants as he warmed himself by the fire. Not once, not twice, but three times Peter perjured himself. While Jesus truthfully declared, “I am He,” Peter falsely declared, “I am not.” Just then the rooster crowed. Perhaps at this moment Peter’s eyes met those of Jesus and he remembered Jesus’ prediction from their last meal together (John 13:38). Peter was exposed as a liar. He was shamed as a coward.
Like Peter, I’m prone to waffle between defending Jesus and denying him. Like Peter, Jesus knows these untruthful tendencies, and he mercifully wounds me with His words of truth. Thankfully, my relationship with Jesus doesn’t end when in weakness I fail him. It remains and grows ever deeper as he exposes me for what I am. Like Peter, when I cave in to living a life of integrity and fidelity to my Lord, He remains faithful to me and the purposes he has for my life. Spiritual growth begins when I see myself as Jesus sees me.
As I begin my day, I’ll verbalize my love and loyalty to Jesus. Despite what the day brings, my thoughts, my words, my deeds I devote to his service and glory for that day. As my day ends, I’ll introspectively close in prayer. I’ll reflect on my day and ask the Spirit to expose where I grieved my Lord and stumbled in the life to which he has called me. I’ll confess where I fell short and seek His mercy and renewing grace for tomorrow. With confidence in His finished work on the cross, I know another day of living for Christ lies beyond the crow of a rooster.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.