Devotion for Feb. 27-29, 2018

“But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.'” (Mark 8:33)

How is your spiritual life progressing? Are things getting better and better and better for you each day?

This is how many people view the Christian life: We start out confused and mixed up. We start out with many bad habits and vices. And as we go through life, we get better and better. We read the Bible and understand Jesus more and more. We try harder and harder to be better people and to keep God’s commands. Some people actually believe that they can become such good Christians that they stop sinning altogether.

Does that sound like you and your life? I know that’s not what my life has been like, and that certainly wasn’t how it was with Peter. Peter’s life was full of ups and downs. It wasn’t a steady progress from worse to better. Peter’s spiritual life was more like a roller coaster.

In Mark 8 we read about Jesus and His disciples in Caesarea Philippi. He asks the disciples who other people said that He was. And they give Him lots of different answers. Then He asks them who they say that He is. And Peter has the right answer, “You are the Christ.” Peter is on a great high.

A few verses later Jesus starts to tell the disciples that He’s going to Jerusalem to die. Peter then pulls Jesus aside and tries to talk Him out of it. Big mistake. This is the whole reason why Jesus has come in the first place. Jesus rebukes Peter and calls Him Satan. Peter is down to a miserable low.

This is how it is for Peter throughout the gospel. He tries to stop Jesus from washing his feet. He tries to defend Jesus with a sword in Gethsemane. He denies Jesus three times. There are plenty of lows.

But Jesus doesn’t give up on Peter. After His resurrection, Jesus restores Peter and Peter becomes one of Jesus’ greatest witnesses. Peter gives the sermon on Pentecost and 3,000 people are baptized, a wonderful high.

Jesus was with Peter through all his highs and lows. Jesus never gave up on him. And Jesus never gives up on you, either. You will have highs and lows, good days and bad days. And Jesus is with you through them all. Your salvation depends on Jesus, not, you, and you can be sure that He is there for you in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Lord Jesus, Peter confessed You to be the Christ, the Son of God. Grant that we join Peter in that confession. Peter also failed and denied You. Forgive us for the times that we deny you, too.