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This is where self-reliance gets you. Luke 22.54-62

Luke 22 (2) (4)

Pray Psalm 31.1-5.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Sing Psalm 31.1-5.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
In You, O Lord, I refuge take; let me not come to shame!
In righteousness deliver me, according to Your Name.
Incline Your ear, my prayer to hear, my Fortress strong to save!

For You my Rock and Fortress are; in Your Name lead and guide.
You rescue me from ev’ry net which wicked men might hide.
My Refuge strong, my spirit long in Your hand shall abide.

Read Luke 22.1-62; meditate on verses


1. Where do we find Peter in these verses?

2. What happened after Peter’s third denial?

We might think, “Of all people! He walked on water. Confessed Jesus as the Christ. Saw Jesus transfigured. And he had been warned that this would happen!” Despite all this, Peter’s self-reliance (v. 33) got the best of him. He did not have the resources to stand firm in the face of danger, and thus he denied knowing Jesus, not once, but three times.

We know that Jesus will restore Peter and that Peter will resume his leadership role among the disciples (v. 32, Jn. 21.15-19). Once the Holy Spirit became the source of Peter’s courage, there was no stopping his witness for the Lord (Acts 2-5). Here is a powerful lesson for us all: Only the Lord is our strength and shield (Ps. 27.1-3). We must look to Him, hear Him, follow and obey Him, and trust in Him to carry out His good and perfect will even in the most difficult or adverse of circumstances.

Peter wept in shame when Jesus looked upon him (vv. 61, 62). He remembered denying Jesus’ warning, his overconfidence, his thinking he was all that and then some. And he broke down in tears of regret and, perhaps, repentance. We may need such tears at times. Let us be quick to shed them when called for, and to return to the Lord and His strength in all we do.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to…” And so began each weekly episode of the TV show Mission Impossible.

God says much the same to us: “Good morning, My dear Child. Your mission today, should you decide to accept it, is to follow Jesus to the very end (Lk. 9.23; Ps. 119.112). And your mission is not impossible, because with Me, all things are possible” (Matt. 19.26).

The first thing that made Peter’s job impossible was that he was not filled with the Holy Spirit. But he also had a couple of personal glitches that we would do well to observe and avoid:
1. He followed Jesus at a distance (Lk. 22.54).
2. He fellowshipped amongst the enemies of Jesus, shared the campfire, and maybe even swapped fishing stories (Lk. 22.55). (His skillset obvious as he told this “whopper” when confronted by a “girl”, and responded to her as “woman”. Her danger level needed to grow, just as fish grow exponentially in the retelling of their landing.) Was the gravity of his denial lessened if she was a big girl rather than a little one? (Lk. 22.56, 57)

The lesson for us? Don’t follow Jesus at a distance, and don’t fellowship with His enemies. And don’t think you’re above falling into this danger. As Paul warned, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10.12).

Solomon’s words in Proverbs 3.5, 6 will guide us carefully on this mission:
1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and be filled with His Spirit.
2. Don’t lean on your own understanding of anything. Rely only upon Him.
3. Acknowledge Him, study Him, and pray to Him—in all your ways, and on all your paths.
4. Believe Him and thank Him that He will guide your mission into your Personal Field.

And we see Jesus (Heb. 2.9). Jesus, Who cared more about Peter’s salvation, repentance, and restoration than His own suffering. Peter was preeminent in His thoughts. Teaching His beloved disciple superseded His own circumstances. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Lk. 22.61).

And He looks at us. With love. And high hopes for our life in service to Him on our Possible Mission—because we have decided to accept it.

For reflection
1. How can you know when something you’ve done is not what you ought to have done?

2. What is the role of shame in a believer’s life? How can we avoid being overwhelmed by shame?

3. What mission has the Lord called you to accept? How will you accept that mission today?

This and other examples testify to how poor, weak and miserable our corrupt nature is. And we should pay attention to such examples, so that we might be reminded of our weakness and not be secure or overconfident, trusting too much in ourselves. But instead we should fear God the Lord, and call on him and ask him for help and support.
Heinrich Salmuth (1522-1576), The Fifth Sermon on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ 3

Pray Psalm 31.17-24.
Pray that God will give you boldness for this day, that He will keep you from shame in denying Him in any way, and that He will increase your love for Him.

Sing Psalm 31.17-24.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
Let me not come to shame, O Lord, for on Your Name I call.
Let wicked men to hell be cast, let shame upon them fall.
Their lies and plots shall come to naught; to silence send them all!

How great the goodness You reserve for those who fear You, Lord,
who rest in You and boldly stand before men in Your Word.
You cover them from plots of men; You shelter them, O Lord!

Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown His steadfast love to me!
In my alarm I cried to Him; He heard my fervent plea!
In fear and dread with You I pled; You heard and rescued me!

O love the Lord, all you, His saints! He keeps us faithfully.
But all who act in sinful pride His wrath shall surely see.
Be strong and let your heart not fret; wait on Him constantly!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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