We have one last stop in our study of the final week of Jesus’ life here on earth, before arriving to the cross tomorrow. One more important lesson to teach this week. I so wanted to tell you all about the foot washing. I wanted to tell you about the last meal with Jesus. I wanted to tell you about the man who carried Jesus’ cross when Jesus was too weak from the beating to continue his destined journey. But I can’t. I can’t because these roosters will NOT stop crowing, y’all.

I’m in a darling little cottage high atop a mountain on the island of Oahu where it is very much like a jungle. It’s just us and the wild chickens up here. And this morning during my study time, more than ever, the roosters are crowing. Every time I begin to write about foot washing, the last supper, or the journey with the cross, another rooster crows and stops me.

Lord, I hear you. Today, we will talk about the part of the story I don’t want to talk about. The part of the story that gets really personal. How I too can deny Jesus. How I can fail to represent myself as a girl who hangs out with Jesus. How the rooster crows reminding me of my continual need for forgiveness and redirection.

Jesus had gathered his best friends for one final dinner together. He gave them the bread that represented his body. He gave them the wine that represented his spilled blood. He knelt down and washed their feet in humble service. He prayed over them and asked God to protect each of them from the evil one. He promised them the power of the Holy Spirit.

What a day they had shared! Then we come to Luke 22 where Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to sift him like wheat. But Jesus says in verse 32, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your bothers.”

Jesus prayed for Peter! He prayed that his faith would not fail. He prayed that after he failed, that he would return and then lead others. Jesus knew Peter would fail, but he had already talked to God about his return!

And Jesus already knew you would fail too. He knew you would get a little lost along the way. He knew you would get all fleshy and mess things up for a bit. But, my sister, he’s already prayed for your return. He’s already planned for you to come back! And when you do, you will be a strength and guide to others. That’s just the way Jesus does things! We see that in Peter.

Peter boldly says to Jesus, “Lord I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Then Jesus says in verse 34, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know me.”

Peter just couldn’t accept that he would fail his Jesus. He loved him. He had walked on the water with him. He knew he was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. No way would he deny him. It just couldn’t be.

I feel the same way. There’s no way anyone could make me deny Jesus. I know who he is and I know what he’s done in my life. Maybe you feel the same way. But let me tell you, Satan works hard on God’s girls to trip us up.

What caused Peter to deny Jesus? Yes fear. Yes weakness. But there were steps that brought him there, and they are the same steps God wants us to be aware of so we don’t get tripped up too.

Luke 22: 54-62:

“They arrested Jesus and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”
But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”
“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”
But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.”

What led Peter to this denial is exactly what could cause us to deny Jesus in our own way today.

  1. Lack of Prayer.

Between Jesus warning Peter of his upcoming denial and Peter’s ultimate failure, was an invitation to pray. Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane and he took Peter with him. Jesus said, “Pray that you may not fall into temptation.” But Peter didn’t pray, he fell asleep.

Jesus is telling God’s girls today, “Girls, pray so that you do not fall into temptation.” Why are you falling asleep? Why are you letting the busyness of the day distract you from your prayer time?

When you fail to pray, the enemy shows up to sift you like wheat! You know what that means? He wants to shake your faith so forcefully that you fall. Jesus says, “PRAY so that you do not fall into his temptation.”

Peter fell asleep when Jesus asked him to pray. His lack of prayer led to his denial.

  1. Hanging Out With the Wrong Crowd.

Peter was no longer with the other disciples. He was with the ones who had taken Jesus. He was sitting around their fire.

Girl, who’s fire are you sitting around? Why are you in this crowd? Why are you trying to fit in with people who aren’t following Jesus?

Tell me who you hang around with and I’ll tell you who you will become. You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. You start talking like them. You start acting like them. You start thinking like them. You start living like them.

We often choose relationships that make us look better. Relationships that make us feel better. It’s easy to feel better when you surround yourself with people who are worse off than you. It’s easy to look better when those around you have bigger messes than you. But, let me tell you something, it’s darn hard to live better like that!

God wants you to LIVE BETTER! Hang out with the people who make you DO BETTER. The ones who will call you out. The ones who will remind you of the truth. The ones who refuse to allow you to wallow and get worse while you waste the power of God living within you.

Peter showed up to the fire pit that night with the wrong people, not prayed up. And guess what happened … he did the very thing he said he would never do.

When we hang out with the wrong people and allow the busyness of life to take over our prayer time, we too end up doing things we said we would never do. We fail. We say things we shouldn’t say. We forget we’re representing Jesus.

And the rooster crows. We know. We know we’re in the wrong circle. We know we haven’t made time for God. We know we’ve been part of conversations that are not honoring of God. We know we haven’t represented Jesus well.

And just like Peter, when we realize what we’ve done, we too feel guilt and shame.

But, here’s the good news … Jesus has already prayed for our return! When we have failed to pray, Jesus has prayed for us!

Peter came back to Jesus. Remember the story? Jesus shows up after his resurrection as Peter is out on his boat fishing. And when Peter recognizes it’s Jesus, he jumps out of the boat and swims to Jesus. Then Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. Once for each time he had denied him that night around the fire.

Yes, Jesus, I love you. Yes, Jesus, I love you. Yes, Jesus, I love you.

And Peter did exactly as Jesus had prayed … he returned and he strengthened the others! He rose up as a leader and he brought others to the love of Jesus!

May we remember to spend time in prayer. It’s important. The enemy is always trying to shake our faith and make us fall. He will be successful if we are not prayed up! And may we always choose to be with those who make us do better over those who make us look better or feel better.

We’re representing Jesus here, girls! I pray we don’t fail. I also pray when we do fail, we will return to Jesus and strengthen others!

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