Peter’s Self Denial Mark 8:34 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The Lord said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” [Mk 8:34]. The first requirement of being a disciple of the Lord is self-denial. Today we will study Peter’s self-denial to help us understand what self-denial is like in our own lives.
A common misconception is that self-denial occurs when you forsake things for Christ. Self-denial is not forsaking things. Peter had walked away from his occupation, his family and his possessions, but he had not denied himself [Matt 4:18-20]. Peter had forsaken all but he had not denied himself [Matt 19:27].
Peter had to deny himself because he was a man of little faith [Matt 14:31], a man who savored the things of men [Matt 16:23], a proud man [Matt 26:33-35], and a weak man [Matt 26:40-41], to name a few of his faults.
As it turns out, when given the opportunity, Peter didn’t deny himself; he denied Christ, instead [Matt 26:69-74]. What a turn of events that was.
So when was Peter’s self-denial?
His self-denial began when he wept in Matt 26:75 [see also Lk 22:60-62]. It began when he went out and wept bitterly. This was the point of repentance; of realizing the worthlessness of his own life.
His self-denial was affirmed when he loved Jesus in Jn 21:15-19. Rather than deny the Lord, he affirmed his love, three times. Once for each denial. And he was told that following the Lord and denying himself would result in his own death, the thing he was confident he could keep Jesus from experiencing.
His self-denial was complete when he was filled with the Spirit by Acts 4:8. When Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, it was evident that he was emptied of himself. He was fully a disciple of Christ and was ready to then take up his cross [1 Pet 2:21; 4:12-14]. He finally understood what it was to be wholly a follower of the Lord.
Conclusion: we will never understand what it is to fully follow the Lord until we deny ourselves. Our self-denial begins when we weep over our own denial of Christ [denying him control over our lives]. We must deny ourselves, affirm our love for Christ and be filled with the Spirit. After that you can take up our cross and follow him. Until then you have not denied yourself.