Crucified with Christ
by Ron Susek
©Golden Quill Publications
I have been crucified with Christ
Part #2: Peter
If you have a friend like Peter, one who swears unwavering allegiance, one who assures you that you can always count on him or her, but then in a shocking about face walks away from your friendship, and, if you can love that person still, then you are crucified with Christ.
At Jesus' trial, when things turned bad, Peter had self-preservation in mind. Fear made men's acceptance more important than God's acceptance. He was not about to risk his well-being to declare himself a follower of Jesus Christ.
There sat Jesus, alone. The nearby fire where Peter warmed his hands brought no comfort to Christ. Abandoned and forsaken He was, both by heaven and earth. Both God and angels fell silent. Eleven remaining disciples faded into the mysterious, shadowy night, profoundly confused. The next day, the rhythmic sound of hammers nailing Jesus to the cross drove the disciples further away. There was no relief from abandonment, thus the cry: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Boldness came easy for Peter when Jesus was at his side, but he crumbled when facing the forces of darkness alone. Satanic powers grabbed the bold man's soul and squeezed three denials out of him. Then, just as Jesus predicted, Satan sifted Peter for three days and nights, probably grinding him with accusations of failure.
Now, after the resurrection, Peter finds himself face-to-face with Jesus. No brassy tones of resentment edge Jesus' voice. Peter did not need rebuking; especially not after three days and nights in his own hell of self-revelation.
Jesus drills three questions into Peter's heart. "Do you love me?" Where Satan's accusations were soul scathing, Jesus' questions were soul searching. Thrice Peter had denied Christ. Thrice Jesus asked, "Do you love me?" Thrice Peter discovers the truth within . . . "Yes!"
Peter had to be broken and sifted before giving Jesus unbreakable loyalty. Likewise, the Peter in your life must be broken before he or she can answer from the core of their being, "Yes, I love you." Lasting friendships are built upon love that is tested and sifted.
Like Jesus, you will pour yourself into a friendship, only to have it broken and denied by the other person. When the time comes for reconciliation, if you can avoid confronting the offender with their failure and unmask their true love and worth, then you are crucified with Christ.
And resurrection life will be yours.
Immanuel: God is with you!
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