Mark 14:26-31 - When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.
Peter was so sure of himself! Jesus, the one who had calmed the storm and fed the five thousand, predicted what was going to happen. He foretold that when the going got tough, His followers would scatter in all different directions. When it was time to stand up and do the right thing, they would not be faithful.
But hearing that message, Peter was confident in his own abilities. “Surely not. Jesus, even if all of these others turn away, I will not.” Despite an even more specific warning, Peter affirmed he would die before deserting Jesus.
And yet, just as Jesus predicted, later that night, Peter denied knowing Jesus. Peter did precisely what he promised he would not. He deserted Jesus. When his life was really on the line, he didn’t keep his promise.
Most of us will likely never face the question of following Jesus with our life on the line. However, we daily face the question of whether we will follow and obey the teachings and guidance of Jesus. In the comfort of our Sunday worship or private prayer time, it is easy to be confident that we will stand in the face of whatever temptation comes our way. But will we? …when the boss asks us to fudge the report? …when our crying child comes to us for the hundredth time and our patience is at an end? …when our integrity and obedience are put to the test when no one is looking and no one will know?
We, like Peter, are susceptible to all manner of temptations. Precisely when we think we are immune, we should be on guard and seek God’s help and guidance. In our own strength, we will fail. But God is faithful and will respond to that cry for help in a moment. That is truly good news!
Dear Jesus, thank you that you are with me even in the face of temptation. Forgive me for thinking that I can stand in my own strength. I am weak, but you are strong. Please give me your help to do the right thing even when it is difficult. In Jesus’ name, Amen.