Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed (v.74).
I didn’t think it would be that difficult. But as the technician placed the X-ray shield over my knee, handed me the headphones, and left the room, a sense of uncertainty surrounded me like the MRI machine I was lying in. Even though my head and shoulders remained outside the tunnel, I felt trapped. My mind raced, as I discovered flight responses never before encountered. Watching the countdown clock on the upper part of the machine, I wondered if my heart and mind would quiet down or if the next few minutes would include me jumping out of the machine in a mad fit of panic.
From our perspective in history, we criticize Peter for his decision to run during Jesus’ greatest hour of need. After all, we reason, Peter had seen the miracles, he had heard Jesus’ need (Matthew 26:41), and he had promised to go with Him all the way—even to the point of death (v.35). How could he turn and act so cowardly?
But, if we’re honest, there have been times in our lives when we’ve run when we should remain steadfast in Jesus. Far from existing as automatons, we have built-in triggers that can cause us to take flight from perceived dangerous situations. Fear is one of those powerful triggers.
Jesus invited Peter into one of the deepest mysteries of heaven: His death and resurrection (vv.27-29). Entering into a kingdom perspective, however, requires our own encounter with death. Just as Peter learned, our flight or fight instinct—the desire to save ourselves—must be surrendered at the cross (v.39). Freedom comes when, face to face with our own inadequacies, we love Jesus more than we fear pain (John 15:13; 1 John 4:18).
Read Acts 4:1-31 to see Peter living out faith in Jesus and victory over fear through the power of God.
How is fear preventing you from living out what God has called you to do? What are some practical ways to fully surrender to Him and His plans?