On occasion, the Apostle Peter made statements without thinking through the ramifications. One such statement is found in Matthew 26:30–35 (ESV)
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
Matthew 26:69–75 (ESV) records the events surrounding Peter’s denial of Christ three times:
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
In light of what seems to be victory by the Biden-Harris ticket, I wanted to make an observation about what I believe we will hear from some in the church. Namely, some may quote Tertullian that
“the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”
as they look forward to genuine persecution. After reading a couple of articles (cited below), while it may come upon me anyway, for now, I’m holding off asking to be persecuted because of my faith in Christ.
One article is “Does the Church Thrive under Persecution” by Marc Cortez (link: https://www.christianity.com/church/does-church-thrive-under-persecution.html ) is a relevant read on this issue. The other article is entitled “Does Persecution Truly Bring Church Growth?” by (link: https://www.sat7uk.org/does-persecution-truly-bring-church-growth/ ). No doubt, church growth has been the case under persecution, but as those articles point out, it not always been the case.
One cannot ignore the fact that the cost of genuine persecution has been high. I hope that folks keep in mind what Dr. Robert Gagnon recently posted on his Facebook page, which reads:
Never-Trump Christians often point out that persecution is good for the church, as if to boast about their ability to withstand real persecution. They are like Peter shortly before Jesus’ arrest. They are clueless until it becomes up close and personal. I’m grateful that God can use persecution but I’m not a masochist for myself or a sadist for others. I have experienced what it is like to be on the receiving end of the forces of leftist intolerance. It is not as glorious as these Never-Trump Christians make it sound. It is very painful and causes pain to one’s family. I would spare you that, if I can.
I suggest you re-read what he wrote.
At least for me, if I hear folks boast about their ability to withstand persecution, I will have to point out what Robert Gagnon wrote, as well as the biblical text about the Pre-Arrest Peter Syndrome.
As a final comment, please understand that if real persecution comes, I hope I will stand strong through God’s strength, and that is the only way that I will be able to stand strong.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation! Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved. You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
Please send me any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments feature of the blog.
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