When your hour comes
John Telgren

One of the things we do in our We Care campaigns is to spend some time "counting the cost" of being a Christian by laying out expectations of what is involved in being a Christian. This is similar to what Jesus does as he prepares his disciples for his departure. He makes it clear that there will be rough times ahead as they continue the mission and ministry of Christ. The world will hate them because they are no longer of the world, but of Christ. They will be shunned by their communities, their synagogues, and even by their families. They will even kill the disciples, thinking that they are offering a service to God. But Jesus did not leave them helpless. He promised to send the Spirit, whom he refers to as the "paraclete." This word means, "helper, encourager, or even advocate." The "Helper" would strengthen then and bring to mind all that Jesus said when they are called on to testify before men concerning the Christ.

Jesus laid all of this out so that they would be "kept from stumbling" (Jn 16:1). The word, "stumble" comes from "skandalizo," and refers to be caused to fall or sin. The idea is that this will help his disciples to keep from falling away.

It must have been a hard thing to accept. Peter obscured and lied about his identity as a disciple of Christ after they arrested him. He denied him not, once, not twice, but three times, and even cursed, saying he did not know Jesus. So, even though Jesus prepared him for this, he stumbled anyway?

This is part of the beauty of the Gospel. Transformation is a life long process, not an instant metamorphosis. This is why Jesus instructed us to forgive seventy times seven when someone asks for forgiveness. This is why he offers the opportunity for repentance after we have been converted and baptized. He demonstrates this after his resurrection when he had breakfast with his disciples and charged Peter to tend his flock. But Peter denied Jesus three times! However, through the grace of Christ, Peter found redemption.

The hour had come for God to be glorified in Jesus when Jesus was led away to be crucified. The hour would come for Peter as well. He ultimately held true to his convictions and was also crucified after a fruitful ministry continuing the mission of Christ. There have been many others whose hour came as well, and they held up to their faith in Christ. Many have come to Christ as a result of their faith.

Our hour will come as well. In fact, it may come several times. Perhaps we have in one way or another denied Christ out of fear, embarrassment, or some other reason. Jesus offers repentance and redemption so that when the hour comes, we can stand with him, we can pick up our own cross, we can follow him and prove to be his disciple, and like so many who have gone before us, our example and testimony will bring others to Christ.