Stained Glass Window of Christ with His Disciples

A daily devotion for July 9th

Betrayal Or Denial?

I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

John 13:38b

Judas betrayed Jesus; Peter denied his Lord. What is the difference between these two men? What is the difference between betrayal and denial?

Jesus Himself has already explained this. He said that Peter had already been bathed and needed to wash only his feet. Judas had never been bathed and had never opened his life to Jesus. Peter had dirty feet but a clean heart; Judas had an evil heart of unbelief, though perhaps an outward walk of apparent morality. And that is the sort person who will betray Jesus.

What Peter lacked was the understanding of love. Peter thought that he loved Jesus, and he did with all the human emotion of which he was capable. But he had not yet learned to walk by Christ's love for him. He had not yet learned to find his identity, not in his efforts to try to be something in himself, but in Jesus' acceptance of him. That is the secret, and Jesus knew that. Peter, with the utmost dedication of his flesh, with complete consecration and sincerity of heart, could say to Jesus, Lord, I know where you're going--you're going into death. And I'll lay down my life with you. And Jesus understood that. He said, Peter, thank you. But before the morning breaks, you will have denied me three times.

Yet you remember in John 21 when Jesus gathered with His disciples on the shore of Galilee after the resurrection. He built a fire for them and laid some fish on to cook, and they had breakfast together. When they finished eating, Jesus said to Peter, Peter, do you love Me?

And Peter said, Lord, You know I love You.

Again, He said, Peter, do you love Me?

Lord, You know I love You.

And once again, Peter, do you love Me?

And Peter said, Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.

And it was then that Jesus said, Feed my sheep and commissioned this disciple after he learned what love really was. When Peter learned how to draw upon Jesus' available love to be strengthened in order to reach out in love for others, then Jesus sent him out with a worldwide commission to feed the sheep of God.

John leaves us in this account helping us to see how thoroughly Jesus understands us and sees all that is going on in our lives and is ready to impart to us the great secret by which we can fulfill that impossible demand--to give up in order to gain, to lose in order to win, to go down to defeat in order to arise as a victor. It is as we learn to love by the love of Jesus and to draw upon Him that all men will know that you are my disciples (John 13:35).

Lord, teach me to love in this way. I stand, like Peter, uncertain, afraid, knowing how weak I am, knowing that my human love can never stand the pressure and the test, but knowing that You are able to say to me, as You said to Peter, You cannot follow Me now; but afterward you will.

Life Application

What is our understanding of love? Where does our love originate and thus whose love is it?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The One Commandment

Listen to Ray