Evening Reading for October 16

John 18:25-27
Suggested further reading: Galatians 2:11-16

The apostle stood among the crowd of his Master's enemies and warmed himself like one of them, as if he had nothing to think of but his bodily comfort, while his beloved Master stood in a distant part of the hall, cold and a prisoner. Who can doubt that Peter, in his miserable cowardice, wished to appear one of the party who hated his Master and thought to conceal his real character by doing as they did? And who can doubt that while he warmed his hands he felt cold, wretched and comfortless in his own soul? `The backslider in heart is filled with his own ways.'

How many do as others do and go with the crowd, while they know inwardly they are wrong!

A second time we find the unhappy apostle telling a lie and this time it is added emphatically: `He denied it.' The further a backslider goes, the worse he becomes. The first time he seems to have said quietly, `I am not.' The second time he flatly `denied'. Even an apostle can fall into being a liar!

The third denial, we know from the other Gospels, was more loud and emphatic than any and was made with cursing and swearing! The further a man falls, the heavier his fall.

Calvin remarks on the course of a backslider, `At first the fault will not be very great; next, it becomes habitual; and at last, after the conscience has been laid asleep, he who has accustomed himself to despise God will think nothing unlawful, but will dare to commit the greatest wickedness.'

As long as the world stands, Peter's fall will be an instructive example of what even a great saint may come to if he neglects to work and pray, of the mercy of Christ in restoring such a backslider and of the honesty of the Gospel writers in recording such a history.

For meditation:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;

Prone to leave the God I love

(Robinson).


These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ