Mark 14:72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. 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.
Reflecting on this passage I had the thought that the most likely way that Mark knew about this event was Peter telling him, or Peter telling others who subsequently told Mark. None of the other disciples were present, they had all scattered so Peter was the only one there and yet somehow this story makes it into the gospels. For Peter this can’t have been a pleasant story to tell, how he had contradicted himself and denied Jesus. After Pentecost Peter went on to become a powerful apostle who spoke to crowds of thousands on multiple occasions and was one of the key leaders of the early church. This story could quite easily have haunted him, undermined his confidence and he could have been worried it would make people doubt him. Yet the only way for this story to be so well known is for him to have told it, to have owned his mistake and been willing to share his story. And by him doing this, we have his example to show us the transformational power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
It can be so tempting to deny, justify or try to run away from our pasts. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of, things we’ve said that we wish we could take back or things we’ve done that we wish we never had. These are things that people can potentially use against us if we let them, particularly when we come out and say we are a Christian or try to minister for Christ. But what we see through the life of Peter is that we don’t need to try and hide our mistakes, the best approach is to be honest about them so that people can see the transformation that God makes in our lives. God knows we’re not perfect and he’s not ashamed of us, so why should we be? This doesn’t mean we should revel in our imperfections or continue to openly do the wrong thing, but it does mean that when we repent and change our ways we don’t need to be ashamed of our past as we have put it behind us. Instead we need to focus on moving on and growing in God so that we can live out his purposes for us.
Are there mistakes from your past that you think you need to hide? How can Peter’s example help you see this differently?
Have you asked God to help you grow from your mistake?
- If not, why not? What’s stopping you? Does Peter’s story encourage you to try?
- If you have, what has changed?
What have you learnt from your mistake that you can use to help others?