Where Are You on the Timid — Overconfident Scale?
The Corinthians thought Paul was being a hypocrite: bold when far away, timid when present among them. Some of them were saying of Paul, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” These Paul rebuked sharply. (2 Cor. 10:10-11).
Peter was quite the opposite: impetuous and overconfident in the moment, but fearful and timid when it came down to it.
This Sunday Elder Jim Longworth pointed us to several crucial moments in Peter’s early faith journey which revealed this tendency. Many recall Peter’s on the spot courage when Jesus came walking on the turbulent water toward the disciples in their storm-tossed boat. “Tell me to come to you,” Peter shouted. And Jesus did… And Peter did… for awhile. But then his boldness wavered with the waves, his knees knocked, and he sank.
Then there was that incident in the garden… the sudden reappearance of the strangely absent Judas, an incongruous “kiss” followed by the clatter of hastening Roman soldiers. But Peter was quick to rise to the threat. Whish! Off sliced a Roman ear… “Aaarghh!.. blood… other swords glinting to the draw, but Jesus calmly steps forward, a gesture of restraint to Peter, a healing palm to the bloody soldier’s temple, then the soldier’s look of awe. No Peter, this was not a time for force; it was an opportunity for grace.
Finally that time ‘round the fire. If only it had not been so cold. But Peter drew near. They challenged him. “No. Not I,” he said once… twice… and again, then the rooster! “No!” But wait — Jesus is led by. He turns… His gaze! Oh…. That gaze! Such Love… but such sorrow… disappointment… my disappointment! Events unfolding too fast… no time to muster courage. Courage must be mustered before it is needed.
No one knows his own heart, but Jesus knows the hearts of all. He offers grace to all – a pardon none deserve. Jesus offered this to Peter, and He offered this to Paul. Both with gratitude received it. Timid or with false confidence He offers transformation to us all.
Where Are You o the Timid- Overconfident Scale? It makes no matter. Jesus has come for you too. Acknowledge your need of Him to set you at balance. Receive Him and His Spirit within you. Jesus has risen. Atonement is complete. Today is the day.
Paul became that great missionary to the Gentiles, Peter that great preacher to the Jews. But both required the touch of God’s Spirit. He waits also to touch you.