THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away and desert me. This will fulfill the prophecy of the Scripture that says: I will strike down the shepherd and all the sheep will scatter far and wide. But after I am risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Then Peter spoke up and said, “Even if all the rest lose their faith and fall away, I will still be beside you, Jesus!” Jesus said, “Mark my words, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice a few hours from now, you will utterly deny that you know me three times.” But Peter was insistent and replied emphatically, “I will absolutely not! Under no circumstances will I ever deny you—even if I have to die with you!” And all the others repeated the same thing. Mark 14:27-31 TPT
THOUGHTS FROM SAMANTHA
Do you ever feel like you need to get your life together? In a society where social media bombards us with everyone’s highlight reel, it can be a challenge to feel like you are winning at life. Are you pursuing the Lord, but just feel like you don’t quite measure up? Maybe you decided you would pray and read your Bible for 30 minutes daily, but when it comes down to it, you haven’t actually made the time. Maybe this is the year you’ve decided to start tithing, but an unexpected expense came your way, so you’ll have to start next month. Do you feel like you’re letting Jesus down? If so, you’re in good company! Jesus’ disciples were walking and talking with Him, in person, on a daily basis, yet they struggled with some of these same issues and feelings! Just look at Mark 14:27-31 for a glimpse of what happened with Peter.
The disciples were ordinary young men whom God used in an extraordinary way! They were not religious scholars. They were fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, and even a thief. The Gospels record the struggles, doubts, faults, and failings of these regular men. In our reading of Mark 14 and 15 this week, we will see one of the disciples deny he knows Jesus at all…not once, not twice, but three times. We will also see Jesus experience complete betrayal by one of His closest followers. If those who were near to Jesus fell short…and even fell asleep on the job…how can we hope to measure up? The good news is that God has made a way!
Before Jesus went to the cross, the disciples were operating with their human faith and energy. After they witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit transformed them into powerful men of God who turned the world upside down. Guess what? We have access to that same power each and every day when we have invited Jesus into our hearts. Jesus says this to His disciples in John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you.” In John 15:26, we can be encouraged by this, “When the Helper comes, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Isn’t it good to know that we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift at the time we experience salvation? This year let’s flip the script. When you think about “getting it together,” don’t think about all of the tasks you need to do and hoops you need to jump through. Let’s get it together WITH the Holy Spirit. He is our Spirit of truth and our guide. The Spirit knows more about us than we know about ourselves, helps us in our weaknesses, and intercedes for us. What a wonderful gift we have all been given!