by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. —John 18:17
"Then the maid that kept the door said to Peter...." Peter is introduced into the high priest's hall; but it cost him very dear, for as soon as he sets his foot within it, he is constrained to deny Christ.
When he stumbles so shamefully at the first step, the foolishness of his boasting is exposed. He had boasted that he would prove to be a valiant champion, and able to meet death with firmness; and now at the voice of a single maid, and that voice without threatening, he is confounded and throws down his arms. Such is a demonstration of the power of man.
Certainly all the strength that appears to be in men is smoke, which a breath immediately drives away. When we are out of the battle, we are too courageous; but experience shows that our lofty talk is foolish and groundless; and even when Satan makes no attacks, we contrive for ourselves idle alarms which disturb us before the time.
The voice of a feeble woman terrified Peter; and what is the case with us? Do we not continually tremble at the rustling of a falling leaf? A false appearance of danger, which was still distant, made Peter tremble; and are we not every day led away from Christ by childish absurdities?
In short, our courage is of such a nature that of its own accord it gives way where there is no enemy; and thus does God revenge the arrogance of men by reducing fierce minds to a state of weakness.
A man filled not with fortitude but with wind, promises that he will obtain an easy victory over the whole world; and yet no sooner does he see the shadow of a thistle than he immediately trembles. Let us therefore learn not to be brave in any other than the Lord. —Commentaries
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.