Lord, keep me from overconfidence.
Read MARK 14:27–31
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’[a]
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[b] you yourself will disown me three times.”
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
a Mark 14:27 Zech. 13:7
b Mark 14:30 Some early manuscripts do not have twice.
New International Version (NIV)
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May the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight, Lord.
As if betrayal by one disciple is not enough, now Jesus predicts that all of them will run for cover. When the Lord speaks of betrayal, each of them probably reassures himself that he is not the one. Now none is excluded – but there is one who is so sure of himself that he even speaks up. Peter begins to boast of his unshakeable fidelity to Jesus, whatever others might do. Despite the words of the OT prophet and of the Master Himself, Peter confidently asserts his steadfastness. Here is the strange paradox of a man doubting the word of God and yet professing loyalty.
More than that, we see a man unaware of his own sinful heart. We cannot doubt Peter’s faith in and love for Jesus. But as Jesus will say of all the disciples a few verses later (38), “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Peter is trusting in his own ability rather than recognizing the spiritual battle at hand, where human strength alone will fall short. In addition, there is in the mix a touch of spiritual pride: he towers above the rest.
Peter is not unique in this respect. How often do we think that we have more spiritual strength than others? We so often excuse our own failures but are harsh in our assessment of others. Many of us are overly confident in our personal faithfulness, but then we fall into sin and many times the same sin of which we have been forgiven before. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says He has prayed for Peter (Luke 22:32); and John issues similar instructions to us if we see a brother or sister falling (1 John 5:16). It is only by the grace of God that any of us stand, and we need to ask for that grace day by day.
Pray for anyone you know who has turned from the faithful following of Jesus.
Lord, I humbly admit to speaking when I should have been listening. Help me to consider more carefully what comes out of my mouth.