Cover to Cover
Jesus was like a celebrity by the time He was arrested. Can you imagine the reporters, the news, the magazines, and the social media posts if He was on the earth today? Peter was associated with Jesus, a man now being tormented and killed. What was Peter doing near the courtyard? We know Peter was not a coward – he recently try to start a fight with a mob of 600 people in the Garden of Gethsemane. Later Peter would be martyred for his faith. However, we do see his humanity. The other disciples had scattered, but it was Peter who followed Jesus close by, putting himself at risk to be recognized. Considering they would betray him, Peter denied being a disciple of Christ’s and denied knowing the Lord. For this, Peter later felt guilt and shame.
Have you ever thought you were strong, but when tested, you saw your weakness? Jesus knew what He was getting into when He chose Peter, and He still called him. He still loved him. Jesus knew Peter would be one of the pioneers to turn the world upside down – that’s why He chose Him in the first place. God sees our weakness, and He chooses us to show His strength. He didn’t choose us because of our perfections, but because of our obedient surrender.
Our faith stands on His grace. If we lean on our understanding instead of acknowledging Him, we’ll fall. Peter obviously received grace, or he would not have stood up and preached to 3,000 on Pentecost, only a few weeks after his denial.
When Jesus stands before Pilate, Pilate does not see Jesus as a threat to Rome. Jesus tells Pilate His kingdom is not of this world. Jesus said that as a Jewish king, if His intention was to establish an earthly kingdom, His own people would not be putting Him to death. In verse 31, the Jews said it was unlawful for them to put Him to death because He had done nothing against the law. Certain Jews wanted Jesus dead, believing Him to be a false prophet, but they needed Rome to do it.
2 Chronicles 32-33
The king of Assyria, King Sennacherib, comes into Judah to make war with Jerusalem. King Hezekiah prepares for battle. He says to the people, “With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”
Sennacherib comes into Jerusalem and speaks to the Jewish people, trying to persuade the people to give in to Assyria rather than fighting at a disadvantage, claiming that Jehovah would not help them win against him.
King Hezekiah and Isaiah pray and cry out to God. In response to their reliant hearts of faith, God sends an angel who kills all Sennacherib’s mighty men. This event caused other nations to hold King Hezekiah in high regard. The Bible says in verse 25, that Hezekiah became prideful, lifting himself up. Because of his pride, God’s wrath was looming over him and the people of Judah. Again we see the followers of a leader affected by the sin of the leader.
Hezekiah becomes ill with a sickness that brought him near death. The king humbles himself and prays. Therefore the wrath of God was lifted. We know from Isaiah that Hezekiah lived another 15 years.
In verse 31, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test the king’s heart. There are times God will allow us to go through trials of testing. If there are any areas of our heart that are not surrendered, they will be exposed, just like weakness can be revealed in pottery when put into the heat of a kiln. God’s purpose in exposure is to bring faults to the surface. If they are there, then they can either be surrendered to God in humility or held onto in pride. God puts before us life and death, but then He tells us to choose life. God is on our side, encouraging us to surrender our weakness to Him with reliant obedience. Let’s make the right choices.