Have you heard fear not or do not be afraid is in the bible 365 times?
There are so many fears, we have names for many types them; arachnophobia (spiders), claustrophobia (small spaces), dentophobia (dentist), glossophobia (public speaking) to name a few common ones. For fun, did you know there is a name if loud chewing noises drive you crazy or even cause fear. Yep, it's called misophonia. Personally, I do not care for clowns (they creep me out, probably not an actual fear) but it's name is coulrophobia.
The Apostle Peter had fears.
Galatians 2:11-12 TPT When Peter visited Antioch, he caused the believers to stumble over his behavior, so I confronted him to his face. He enjoyed eating with the gentile believers who didn’t keep the Jewish customs—up until the time Jacob’s Jewish friends arrived from Jerusalem. When he saw them, he withdrew from his gentile friends—fearing how it would look to them if he ate with gentile believers.
In short form, Peter gave up Jewish eating customs until his Jewish friends showed up.
Peter's 3 denials of being a disciple of Jesus.
1st Denial: John 18:17 TPT As he passed inside, the young servant girl guarding the gate took a look at Peter and said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, saying, “No! I’m not!”
2nd and 3rd Denials: John 18:25-27 TPT Meanwhile, Peter was still standing in the courtyard by the fire. And one of the guards standing there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples? I know you are!” Peter swore and said, “I am not his disciple!” But one of the servants of the high priest, a relative to the man whose ear Peter had cut off, looked at him and said, “Wait! Didn’t I see you out there in the garden with Jesus?” Then Peter denied it the third time and said, “No!”—and at that very same moment, a rooster crowed nearby.
Just a few hours earlier before these denials, when Jesus was arrested and taken into custody, Peter is the one with quick reaction to defend his Lord and Master by cutting off the ear of Malchus (Jesus immediately healed him).
What was the difference in the boldness of Peter with his sword and protecting Jesus and then just a few hours later denying he knew him?
Speculation, but Peter's world was falling apart and the man to whom he pledged lifelong allegiance, was arrested and taken into Roman custody (soon to be put to death).
Peter had a fear of man (what others would think).
What people think about us can be a powerful motivator in what we do, who we are, how we behave. But Jesus sees us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows how to get our attention. He knows how to alleviate our fears and to get us to the place where we stand true to him no matter the cost.
Jesus SEES Peter. He called Peter to himself with a great catch of fish to follow him. See Luke 5:2-10.
Now, after Jesus' resurrection, he calls Peter back to himself again beginning with another great catch of fish. See John 21:6.
What came next is beyond amazing. Jesus served the disciples breakfast. And then:
John 21:15-17 TPT After they had breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you burn with love for me more than these?” Peter answered, “Yes, Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!” “Then take care of my lambs,” Jesus said. Jesus repeated his question the second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you burn with love for me?”
Peter answered, “Yes, my Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. Then Jesus asked him again, “Peter, son of Jonah, do you have great affection for me?” Peter was saddened by being asked the third time and said, “My Lord, you know everything. You know that I burn with love for you!” Jesus replied, “Then feed my lambs!
Why is this so amazing??? Well beyond the fact that Jesus serves Peter breakfast and restores him, Jesus NEVER mentions the denial. They both knew. He didn't make Peter grovel his way back or pay for it. Jesus in these three asks, is completely restoring Peter.
He knows who you are. He knows what you do. He knows what you NEED. He KNOWS what you NEED to overcome your particular fears.
One last point, Peter denied Jesus three times before the incident of how it would look to eat with his Gentile friends, when Jewish friends were around.
Lesson 1: Work in Progress: Peter's fear of man, what others would think about him, didn't completely dissipate after Jesus restored him from the ultimate denial.
Lesson 2: God uses those around us (sometimes unbeknownst to them) to keep us in check and point out the areas where we need to grow. Paul called Peter out on it! Thank goodness! Appreciate these voices in your life!
Lesson 3: To whom are you accountable?!
The DIFFERENCE in all of this???
IDENTITY I'm still working this out (I am a 2 on the Enneagram and we can be people pleasers to the point of our own demise).
Besides the 365 do not be afraid scriptures, what has been the most helpful for me is to realize, it's not me, it's Christ in me.
There's a verse for that!
Galatians 2:20 Amp: I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
He is working it out all for my (your) good!
There's a verse for that!
Romans 8:28 TPT So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
My identity is in Him. Know him, know myself better.
Picture yourself in Him. He lives in you. Truly the bracelets worn years ago, What would Jesus do? What he does is who he is.
May I ever more look like Him!