Hello beautiful people!
Okay, so my favorite scripture changes. At different points in my life, certain scriptures affect me deeply, so I’ll say this is my favorite scripture for the moment, Well actually, it’s my favorite transformation:
“Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Matt. 26:75
To briefly paint the picture, this scripture happens as Jesus is on the cross. He had prophesied to Peter earlier that evening that he would deny Him 3 times, and Peter couldn’t imagine that he would do that. He loved Jesus. He hungered after Jesus. He wouldn’t deny Him! He felt that in his heart and in his bones. I’ve been there. I’ve been there. I’ve so been there. Standing in the sin of something I never thought I’d do… of something I never thought I’d go back to. Mmm.
In verses 69-74, Peter does deny Him, to two servant girls and a group of people. Then it says he wept bitterly.
I knew the story, but when I first read that scripture for myself, and saw the word “bitterly”, it broke my heart, because it began to paint a picture of how heartbreaking and hopeless the disciples must have felt at that time. They didn’t yet understand that everything was in preparation for that moment. They were losing their beloved, their leader, their hope. And for that moment to cause you to betray Him – I can only imagine the turmoil Peter was going through.
After Christ was raised from the dead and taken up into Heaven, the disciples were equipped with the Holy Ghost, who appeared as tongues of fire. The same Peter who denied himself to a servant girl, addresses the entire temple of the very people who crucified Jesus (Acts 2:14). Traaaaaaansformation.
In Acts 4, this same temple was angry that Peter had healed a lame man in the name of Jesus, and commanded them not to speak in His name anymore. Their response, you ask?
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20
I recently read a book about Mary Magdalene – a somewhat fictionalized account (in it’s day-to-day details) based on the facts of Mary Magdalene’s life. It’s called “Mary, Called Magdalene” by Margaret George. My favorite line in the book was about Peter, after Mary heard that he had been killed, crucified upside down:
“So the soldiers crucified him upside down.
“Peter had been utterly changed from the loud fisherman I had known – oh, so long ago, in my youth and his. His belief had made him a man as brave as a Maccabee.
“This was a greater miracle than the ones credulous people wanted to create for Jesus – walking on water, changing water into wine, multiplying food. Such things would be cheap magicians tricks, whereas the real magic was to take such weak and fallible human material and change it into a hero beyond our human limits.”
Isn’t it crazy, to turn around and think about who you were, and how different you are now? There are times where we just are not proud of who we are. Of certain ways that we have. And although we know God can change that, I don’t know if we can really see it at the time. But look at Peter!
The power in our witness is the transforming power of Christ. The Holy Ghost who helps us to see people past their situations, their decisions and their circumstances. One of my favorite lessons that God has taught me, that Love taught me, is that everyone will not always be that way. By “that” way, I mean whatever way that they are. We all have the potential to grow and learn! In Jesus, we won’t always be bitter, hurtful, careless, violent – so look past that in others. Speak to the person’s potential.
I follow this page on Instagram/Facebook called Humans of New York. A photographer goes around NY (and now the world) taking pictures of people and writing what they say underneath. My favorite post was a picture of a young African American boy with this caption underneath:
““Who’s influenced you the most in your life?”
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.“
I remember reading that over and over again, and it brought tears to my eyes. So many times, I hear of terrible things happening on the news, and I get angry at the person responsible. I want them to pay, they deserve to go to jail, to suffer. Yet here’s this principal, who, as any principal, has young boys and girls doing bad things everyday, and she doesn’t address the problems from her immediate emotion – she addresses it from her heart for the children at the school. She doesn’t speak to what they “deserve”, to who they are right now, or what they’re doing right now – she’s speaks to the best person inside… the best they can be in high school, in college, in grad school, as doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. She speaks to who they can be, and hopefully will be; the person they can’t see yet.
God does that with us. He sees us as who He is molding us to be, and that’s how He speaks to us. When Jesus told Peter “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18), He was speaking to the Peter that He would change Him into. And because of that, when he became that Peter, he pulled from His foundation – all those life-giving words Jesus spoke to Him when he was fresh off the boat.
That’s what we have to do with our brothers, our sisters, and ourselves. We need to have patience, gentleness, and do everything we can to speak to the best person inside ourselves and others. When we do that, the Lord has shown us, Himself, that the best person will come out.