Who influences you? Does their influence come from God? Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus‘s body with an ointment worth a year‘s wages for an average worker. She obviously did not care what others thought, she just cared about worshiping God. That’s a strong influence to follow. John 12:4 tells us it was Judas who openly criticized Mary and influenced other disciples who also criticized her, suggesting the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. That sounds honorable, but as we know, Judas was a thief. He held the money purse of the donations given for Jesus‘s ministry. The proceeds of the oil would have given him more money to steal. He was able to deceive and influence the disciples in what seemed like a positive way but wasn’t.
One negative or positive attitude can influence many. Sometimes a negative attitude sounds positive or even noble. Which attitude do I influence others with? Who am I being influenced by? Knowing God‘s word/truth helps me to identify the true influence of others, does it honor God or their own selfish agenda?
Jesus predicts his betrayal and death to his disciples who don’t want to hear His truth. Jesus let them know that they will all abandon him, Peter immediately professes he will never leave Jesus even if he must die with Jesus. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says to Peter that he has prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail, he knew Peter would stumble and fall but Peter’s faith would not fail. When we stumble and fall, we must stay strong in our faith, get back up and encourage others around us to stay strong in their faith in all circumstances.
V41 Jesus says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Jesus is praying for us as we read in Hebrews 7:25, He is aware of our humanness and knows we need His intercession.
Peter professed that he would never leave Jesus despite what the others may do, there was a tint of arrogance but also true sincerity. After hearing Peter‘s profession, the other disciples also said they would do the same. Peters’ faith influenced the other disciples in a way that would not honor what Jesus’s mission was, even though it seemed noble. Peter failed to stay awake in the garden and pray with Jesus. When Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus, he was showing great courage proving the sincerity in the words he spoke when he professed, he would even die with Jesus. Jesus admonished him for his actions and Peter ran away like the others. What were his feelings at this point?
Peter kept stumbling yet he continued getting up and staying strong in his faith. He was the only disciple who had the courage to follow the guards and Jesus. After denying that he knew Jesus 3 times, even cursing in his 3rd denial, Peter remembered Jesus‘s words and he went outside and wept bitterly. We see Peter in his humanness fail, fail, fail and yet we continue to see his true sincerity. His sincere faith continues to strengthen him to get up and encourage others to stay strong in their faith as his influence helped build Christ’s church.
Unfortunately, fear dictates what I do or do not do in my life. Fear often keeps me from doing the things that I should. I pray every morning that God gives me sincere courage to do the things I am supposed to do today. I stumble often, I do not always get back up as quickly as I should. My faith is strong, but is it as strong as Peter’s?
Sometimes I feel like a baseball, I am knocked around, thrown in the dirt, the weight of others falls on me and occasionally I am hit out of play. But I continue to get back in the game because the game is not over yet. I am grateful God has placed Peters in my life who influence and encourage me, helping me find God’s strength. I am also thankful there are younger men who turn to me to find God’s strength. As badly as I need Peters in my life, it is my responsibility to be a Peter to others. Encouraging, strengthening, and sometimes admonishing other men to seek, know and follow God’s truth.