Erratic Faith

This week I have been working on a sermon covering John 18 – Jesus betrayal. John tells of Peter pulling his sword and going for the head of Malcus – good thing he was a fisherman and not a swordsman – though I suppose Jesus could have healed a severed head! Immediately Jesus instructs Peter to put his sword away as He surrenders Himself to the guards. In this moment Peter is wiling to fight and die for Jesus.

In the next scene the guards take Jesus to the house of Annas. Peter follows and waits in the courtyard. It is there in that courtyard that Peter infamously denies knowing Jesus (John 18:17).

In one moment Peter is ready to slice and dice his way through a mob of trained soldiers to protect Jesus, but not an hour later he denies even knowing Jesus to a servant girl. So what gives? What is Peter’s problem? Is he bi-polar? Why is his faith so erratic?

I assure you his faith is no more erratic than my own. As I was considering John’s record this week I was comforted by Peter’s erratic faith, because so often my faith is erratic. For example: some mornings I wake up early enough to enjoy the quiet (before the family is up) and in those moments I commune deeply with God. I leave those sessions delighting and abiding in Jesus – ready to face the day. But by 9am I have effectivly forgotten that time of communion and the Savior I was delighting in – instead you will find me grumbling and complaining about some issue that has interrupted my planned schedule. Erratic faith!

Truly, I desire a more consistent and dependable faith and by His grace I will continue to learn what it is to consistently abide in Jesus.

But my greatest hope was Peter’s greatest hope. When I deny, forget, and quit on Jesus. He never denies, forgets, and quits on me – “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Joshua L. Mathews is the lead pastor of Meadowview Baptist Church, in Republic Missouri.