These are the words Peter spoke when asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples on the night he was arrested.
“I am not”.
In Matthew 16:16 Peter responded to Jesus’ question of who He was with “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” He witnessed Jesus feeding 5,000 and healing the sick. He had an up close and personal experience with Jesus himself. He knew who Jesus was. He promised Jesus in Mark 14:29 that even if the others rejected him, he never would.
When Jesus was on His way to being crucified and bystanders asked Peter if he was one of those who walked with Jesus he said “I am not.”
That is all He said.
& He actually said it three times.
When I read this my heart broke for Jesus. His fiercest defender became His boldest betrayer. I can’t imagine how Jesus felt knowing He had to endure what was ahead alone. Knowing that those He called brother were no where to be found in His most challenging hour. I was so angry with Peter. So mad at his fickle heart. So mad that he could just stand by and deny his friend like it was nothing. I hated him for pretending like the last three years never happened. I despised his selfish, fearful words.
But I am wondering if I am more like Peter than I would like to admit. I may not be denying Christ outloud or intentionally, but maybe I am in my heart.
Let me explain.
By saying that He did not belong to Jesus, He was basically saying that everything He knew to be true about no longer mattered. Their experiences and miralces—void. Nonexistant. DENIED.
So I have to ask myself…
Am I saying “I am not” when I question His goodness when life takes a rough turn?
Am I Saying “I am not” when I feel conviction but ignore it?
Am I saying “I am not” when I let myself lean towards the way of the world instead of pressing into Him?
Am I saying “I am not” when I rely on my own understanding and forsake His wisdom?
Are we all a little bit like Peter? Quick to turn from believer to betrayer? Follower to forsaker? Devoted to denier?
This is tough to wrestle with. I pray that we wouldn’t shy away from the harsh reality that can be our hearts sometimes. And I also pray that we wouldn’t beat ourselves up because of our humanity. Because the beautiful part of it all is that we have grace. Jesus already knew Peter would betray him (Matthew 26:34) and He loved him anyways. He had grace for Peter long before Peter knew he would need it. We are loved even in our failures. We are loved in our disobedience. We are loved even when we turn our back on Jesus because we are afraid or selfish or just flat out human. We are loved at all times.
He knows the depth of our hearts. He knows our fickle tendencies and loves us anyways. He loves us even though we could never give even a fraction of that love in return. He loves us even when our hearts say “I am not”.
And even when we say “I am not” He is still saying “I AM”. We can never be enough but He will always be Everything.
We are His. Remember this.