April 28, 2010

I Will Never Disown You

As Jesus was making His final preparations before His crucifixion, He once again warned them of what would soon happen.

“You will all fall away, for it is written:

‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered’ (Zech. 13:7)

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” (Mk. 14:27-28Mk. 14:27-28
English: World English Bible - WEB

27 Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 However, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.”

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We know that this is exactly what happened, as described in Mark 14:50Mark 14:50
English: World English Bible - WEB

50 They all left him, and fled.

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and in the other Gospels.

But Peter didn’t buy it. He could not conceive of a circumstance in which he would desert the Lord. Perhaps Peter was imagining a glorious battle, fighting side-by-side with Jesus and a legion of angels to make Jesus an earthly King, overthrowing their Roman oppressors and removing Caesar from his thrown. So Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not”, and persisted, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”

But Peter could not have been prepared to be confronted by a servant girl in the High Priest’s courtyard (see Mark 14:66-72Mark 14:66-72
English: World English Bible - WEB

66 As Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the maids of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know, nor understand what you are saying.” He went out on the porch, and the rooster crowed. 69 The maid saw him, and began again to tell those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he again denied it. After a little while again those who stood by said to Peter, “You truly are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” 71 But he began to curse, and to swear, “I don’t know this man of whom you speak!” 72 The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered the word, how that Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” When he thought about that, he wept.

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That’s exactly how it is with us and God today. We make a promise or a vow, and then circumstances we never considered in our wildest dreams confront us and before we realize what happened, we’ve broken our word.

How many times can you recount this happening to you? I can think of several in my own life.

You would think we would learn from our mistakes but we don’t always learn to first time, and sometimes we don’t learn after a hundred times. And the reason we don’t learn this lesson that Peter illustrated so well is because we have no control over the future.

But God does.

As we’ll see, Jesus later restores Peter to his position as a trusted disciple, and Peter doesn’t disappoint when he becomes a leading Apostle (see Acts 2). So don’t be so discouraged by your failures that you never venture out in faith again. Just know who is in control.

Hint: It’s not us.