The Spirit is Willing But . . .
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 123:1-4 | 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23 | John 18:15-19:22 | Proverbs 16:10-11
Today’s Scripture Focus: John 18:15-19:22
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you? He denied it, saying, “I am not.” One of the high priests’ servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him. “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow (John 18:17-18 NIV).
Peter was a man who aspired to greatness. His adventurous spirit of faith was undeniable. But while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Peter was about to learn that lesson in a humbling but life changing way.
He pledged to follow Jesus to the death: “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you?”
Jesus responded, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (14:37-38 TNIV).
Peter couldn’t believe it. In his heart I am sure he meant the words; he seemed to have the best of intentions. But his inner fears were revealed when he was later confronted. He denied that he even knew Jesus.
Yet it was all part of God’s plan. Peter was humbled. He had to face up to his own weakness. That put him in the place for Jesus post resurrection appearance where Jesus would reinstate him in ministry with a whole new attitude.
The humbling would lead to a greater dependence on God’s power rather than his own. It would lead him to seek the fullness of God’s spirit. At Pentecost we see the result of one who had come to see the weakness of his own flesh, as he experienced the incredible power of the Spirit.
We often go through a time of humbling that teaches us to trust not in ourselves, but in our God. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15) yet we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Heavenly Father, help me to walk in humility. When I am tempted to trumpet my own successes, remind me that what has been accomplished has been done only through your grace and power. Help me to serve others in the humility of Jesus. Amen.