Peter denied Christ three times out of fear… fear of losing his freedom and perhaps life and limb… fear of being associated with One who was being mocked and rejected. Yet Peter was remorseful and repentant which led to Jesus restoring Him. Peter’s greatest ministry successes occurred after his fear failures.
In Christ’s restoration confrontation with Peter in John 21, the Lord forces Peter to face his fear again. Peter will not be able to always be in control. There will be a time when he will lose his autonomy completely and against his will. God’s love will empower Peter to return that love to Christ by faithfully serving and blessing the people of God until his death.
To face his fears, Peter was equipped with the knowledge that even his being out of control (to the point of death) would glorify God. And, Peter had to do one thing in response to his feeling out of control: “Follow Me.” Peter’s fear would be conquered by the love of God - and love for God. Loving Jesus would be demonstrated by Peter fulfilling his purpose and blessing the Church.
While fears are often deep emotional realities, what can you learn and apply from the following two passages regarding your deepest fears (including the fear of losing your sense of autonomy or control)?
John 21:17-19 NIV - The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
1 John 4:18-19a NIV - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us…
What two main areas of your home, work, or church life are you most fearful about losing control or your personal autonomy?
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How can you pray, think, and apply Philippians 4:6-7 in contrast to your two main fear-areas?