Today’s Reading: Mark 14:22-52 (additional reading: Psalm 52:1-9 & Proverbs 11:1-3)
Answer a question for me: How can you go from ‘I will never deny you, I will die for you, to ‘I don’t know him in less than 12 hours?’ That was Peter’s experience on that fateful night. How did it happen? What contributed to such a fall from the one whom Christ had named ‘Rock’?
You can imagine Peter thinking How could it happen to me? How could I deny him after I promised, unlike the other disciples, I would never leave him? I mean I said I would die for him. How could it have happened to me? You know as a fisherman I look out and look forward to anticipate a coming storm. I put more ballast in the bottom of the boat when a storm is approaching so that we remain stable in the midst of the storm. Why did I not do the same in my life?
I believe one of the lessons we learn from Peter here is the danger of being confident in your own abilities and spiritual strength. In Peter’s life this allowed pride to enter into his heart and it led to him failing his Lord. Look at verses 29-31. Peter is so confident here. In fact he sets himself up above the other disciples – ‘even if all fall away, I will not.’ Pride is a subtle sin because it feeds on our good points. Pride was the downfall of satan – read Ezekiel 28.17. Peter had forgotten Proverbs 4.23 – which warns us to guard our hearts because it is the wellspring of our very lives. Peter never guarded his heart that night and he disappointed his Lord. Peter was over-confident in his own ability. He was also concerned with his own spiritual position. Do you remember the incident of the disciples disputing who was greatest in the kingdom of God? Or their refusal to wash one another’s feet that night? Peter, unlike his Lord, had forgotten his need of the Father. He had become puffed up in his own position and ability. Listen to what he would write years later – Read 1 Peter 5.5-7.
Yet I want us to take great comfort and encouragement this morning from the fact that failure with Christ is never final. We have looked at a moment of failure on the part of Peter. He failed to watch and pray. He ran away, deserting the one he said he would die for. Yet this same Peter would be one of the founding fathers of the Christian church. This same Peter would be gloriously restored by Christ after the resurrection. Failure is never final with Christ. This morning you may be about to face your Gethsemane, you may even be in the midst of your Gethsemane. Learn from Peter – by doing the very things he failed to do – watch, pray and stay humble.