When I was studying and meditating on our January 5, 2014 Watchtower study article, “Be Vigilant With a View to Prayers“, I was really struck by how much I could relate to the apostle Simon Peter in the account in paragraphs 10 and 11. Let me explain …
Jesus, betrayed by Judas Iscariot, was about to be arrested, tried, convicted and murdered. He is preparing the apostles for what’s to come.
After the Lord’s Evening Meal, known also as the Last Supper, Jesus and his apostles went out to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives .
“Jesus said to them: All of you will be stumbled in connection with me on this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered about. (Matthew 26:31)’”
“Although all the others are stumbled in connection with you, never will I be stumbled!” (Matthew 26:33)
‘Cause you know, Peter had it like that. He was no weakling. The others apostles might be. He wouldn’t put it past them to run. But Peter wasn’t scattering anywhere. He LOVED Jesus. He was not going to abandon him.
Jesus said to him: “Truly I say to you, on this night, before a rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” (Matthew 26:34)
Peter had to get Jesus to believe him, that he would be with him until the end, ’cause you know, Peter knew what he was capable of and what he would and would not do. Peter knew himself. “Jesus knows a lot of things but he obviously doesn’t know me very well”, Peter may have thought. “I’m no coward and I’m not about to “scatter” like one no matter what happens! He just had to convince Jesus of that.
“ Peter said to him: Even if I should have to die with you, I will by no means disown you.” All the other disciples also said the same thing. (Matthew 26:35)
That was a strong statement and I’m sure he meant every word of it when he said it. They all probably did. They had been with Jesus from the time his ministry began. They were very close.
LATER THAT NIGHT …
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard; and a servant girl came up to him, saying: “You, too, were with Jesus the Gal·i·le′an!” But he denied it (1) before them all, saying: “I do not know what you are talking about.” (Matthew 26:69, 70)
After he had gone out to the gatehouse, another girl noticed him and said to those there: “This man was with Jesus the Naz·a·rene′.” And again he denied it, (2) with an oath: “I do not know the man! (Matthew 26: 71, 72)
After a little while those standing around came up and said to Peter: “Certainly you also are one of them, for, in fact, your dialect gives you away.”Then he started to curse and swear: “I do not know the man!” (3) And immediately a cock crowed. And Peter called to mind the saying Jesus spoke, namely: “Before a cock crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:73-75)
The other disciples who co-signed Peter’s statement that they would die with Jesus rather than disown him?
And they all abandoned him and fled. (Mark 14:50).
I THOUGHT I WAS STANDING
Paragraph 11 references one of my favorite scriptures:
So let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Before I came into the Truth for good, I was standing, or so I thought. I had a nice job, a new car, a beautiful apartment with a view overlooking the river in the most expensive living complex in our area.
I thought I had it together and I guess I did, somewhat, by the world’s standards. I knew who Jehovah was and I knew his Witnesses had the truth. I had never missed a Memorial since I had learned the Truth a couple of decades prior, and had many of the publications – which I never looked at.
I don’t recall having faced anything that I couldn’t eventually resolve on my own. I figured I’d make it into the Truth before the end got here. Until then, like my niece would say, I was sitting on top of the world.
But the world is unstable, tottering. Dangerous.
I was pushed into a dark and terrifying web.
I couldn’t get out on my own.
I could no longer stand.
I collapsed in fear.
I did not think I would survive.
I wept as Peter did
and I became vigilant with a view to prayers,
supplicating and shedding many tears to Jehovah
as I’m sure Simon Peter did.
And he rescued me even though I did not deserve it
as he helped Peter.
And we both overcame our tendency to
think we could stand without Jehovah.
Paragraph 11 stated that Peter learned from his experience and I certainly learned from mine.
One thing I learned is that …
I don’t want to live without Jehovah in my life ever again. Most people just can’t relate to how wicked this world really is. They are just like I was — knowing it’s bad, though being personally untouched by it.
I learned. I’m staying at Jehovah’s table.
If you think you’ve got it like that and that you don’t need him, you’re in for an awakening. You will fall. It’s going to happen. We are in the last days of this system. It’s just a matter of time. Get to be Jehovah’s friend now, while you can.
Search for Jehovah while he may be found. Call to him while he is near. Let the wicked man leave his way and the evil man his thoughts; Let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy on him, to our God, for he will forgive in a large way. (Isaiah 55:6, 7)
I also learned that
the people in your circle may not always be there for you. They may want to be. But circumstances, fear …
There is an older sister in my life who is fond of saying “you might have to die for your brothers and sisters”, which is true. But when I was in the midst of the worst trial of my life, she grew afraid and fled. And it didn’t even require her to die for me!
Jesus understood why his apostles fled. I understood why this sister fled. I did not hold it against her. She had probably never faced anything she thought she would run from. She probably thought she was standing, too.
Jehovah will never be frightened off. He will never leave you. In your darkest hour he will surround you with his wonderful light.
For he has said: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.”So that we may be of good courage and say: “Jehovah* is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5, 6)
We are in the last minutes of this system and we are facing the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen, or will ever see again. We don’t now how bad it will be and how it will affect us. But it will be bad and it will affect us in some way. Jehovah is the ONLY one you can absolutely count on for everything.
Become vigilant with a view to prayers. And remember, those who think they are standing …
NOTE: The prophecy that the flock would scatter is written at Zechariah 13:7.
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