…and He Broke Down Sobbing

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72

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66 Meanwhile, Peter was below in the courtyard. A woman, one of the high priest’s servants, approached 67 and saw Peter warming himself by the fire. She stared at him and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus.”

68 But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” And he went outside into the outer courtyard. A rooster crowed.

69 The female servant saw him and began a second time to say to those standing around, “This man is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again.

A short time later, those standing around again said to Peter, “You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean.”

71 But he cursed and swore, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”72 At that very moment, a rooster crowed a second time. Peter remembered what Jesus told him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down, sobbing. (Mark 14:66-72, Common English Bible)

What makes you weep? What is it that makes your heart hurt to the point you begin sobbing, either literally or figuratively? Sometimes, when something hurts me, I might sob figuratively. I might sob both figuratively and physically when I see something that hurts a child. I think it is a sin to be the country that feeds the world and we have children who are malnourished, children who don’t have enough to eat. But most of all, I sob when I hurt someone, particularly someone I care about, by my words, actions, or both.

It is hard for me to imagine what Peter must have felt when he heard the rooster crow for the second time. He played the big man before. He swore that even if everyone else left Jesus alone, he would not.

He never saw it coming. He was scared. No one wants to be arrested. He loved Jesus but denying you knew him was safe, it was easy. Peter probably felt shocked when Jesus told him he would deny him three times. How could Jesus say such a thing? After all they had been through together, didn’t Jesus realize Peter would never leave him. Even if everyone else left Jesus alone, Peter knew without a doubt he would stay with Jesus.

Then the unthinkable happened. Despite his answer that was so strong, despite what he knew in his heart, despite the love he had for Jesus, he denied him and in the distance, a rooster crowed. He denied Jesus again. And then, for the third time Peter denies Jesus and again, he hears the rooster crow and Jesus’ words came storming back into his mind. What had he done? Exactly what he said he wouldn’t do. Exactly what Jesus said he would do. Quite literally, it was enough to make a grown man cry.

I am afraid most of us would act just like Peter. We might not fall into the crying but we could surely be part of the denying. We already are. We deny Jesus when we fail to love our neighbor. We fail Jesus a second time when we fail to pick up our crosses and follow Him.

But, if we think back and remember when we studied in Matthew a month or so ago, Jesus gave grace to Peter. “Peter do you love me…” Of course, Peter loved Him. Jesus knew that. But, Jesus also knew that Peter was still grieving with himself for what he had done. In the same sentence, Jesus gave him both grace and a mission. Would Jesus give him an assignment, a mission if He hadn’t already forgiven Peter?

Jesus does the same for us. “Tom, do you love me?” “Sarah, do you love me?” “Feed my lambs.” Jesus forgives our blunders of many types and kinds. It is that unmerited gift from God we have talked about recently.

Jesus gives grace. But then my friends, it is time to go to work.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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