We vow many things in life of what we will do—or not do. “I will never do that!” Or, “I will never do that, again!” We declare these vows with a passionate heart and determined voice. But then unthinkable circumstances occur beyond our control. I have learned to never say, never. The unexpected happens and rattles our being to the core. Fear takes over like a wild fire in our thoughts and spreads through our entire body. What we said we would never do—we do. We ask ourselves, who are we?
Jesus knows who we are and what we will do when push comes to shove in our world of following him. He knows our hearts’ best intentions. But he also knows that fear removes trust as quickly as fire ignites paper. Peter vows to never leave Jesus—and could I add, he is one disciple who didn’t run away, he stayed close by when Jesus was arrested, but fear takes over when asked if he was a Jesus follower. Yes, there’s more to the story and we will pour more of our thoughts into Peter’s Denial later. But for now, let’s think about the vows we make to God and to others around us. Vows are serious. Vows can only be made by humans according to what we presently know. Jesus points that out to Peter.
Jesus has told the disciples many times, over the course of their journey with Him, of what will happen to Him. He is telling them once more what will be occurring in a few hours. Jesus tells them clearly that this is based on what the prophets said who got their words from God, Himself. The Shepherd, (Jesus) will struck down by His enemy and all His followers will scatter in fear like sheep when faced with an attacker. Jesus will pray for all his followers to be safe when this happens. His disciples all vowed with Peter that they will not run—but most do. We will learn that Jesus wants them to run for their lives will be used later to tell His story of redemption! But Peter. Oh, dear Peter, he cannot leave Jesus but he chose to deny Him so he could stay close to what is happening to Him. Are we like Peter, at times? Admittedly, I am.
Peter is disobedient. Denial was a side affect of His disobedience to what Jesus said. Let’s pause to think about that for a bit. When we disobey what God has asked us to do, departing from His plan we will experience more the fruits of evil than the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Peter realizes this almost immediately as he looks into the eyes of Jesus as he passes by him in the courtyard, bound and bleeding.
Ah, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Most of us know the end of the story of Peter’s redemption and subsequent leadership as the “rock upon whom my church is built”, but let’s us ponder the seeping fear from disobedience and denial that can occur in our lives. And let us repent.
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 26:31-35, NLT
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.
THINK ABOUT IT…
How did the disciples miss the part, “but after I have been raised” as assurance for their current, turned upside down, lives? Are they vowing without realizing the bigger picture? Are they just joining in with Peter who is an influencer?
How do we, who know the whole story, often miss this part? How can we live our lives with ups and downs, twists and turns, without knowing Jesus is alive AND is coming back for His own?! Jesus knows who we are by name and knows what we are going through and wants to help us when we call on Him! ALL who believe in Jesus will be saved for eternity with Him! ALL who love and follow, trust and obey, will be blessed with His growing character traits in us!
DON’T FORGET THE PROMISE!
Yes, we usually point to Peter as the one who had failed the Lord, but all of the disciples were involved. Jesus referred to Zechariah 13:7 in warning His disciples, but He also added a word of promise: He would rise again and meet them in Galilee. Unfortunately, the men paid little attention to the promise of His resurrection. On resurrection day, the angels reminded them of the meeting in Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 10).
LISTEN TO THE WARNINGS
When Peter disagreed with the Lord, this was the beginning of his sin of denying the Lord. Peter was unwilling to apply the word all to himself. Instead of reassuring Peter, the Lord gave him a personal warning: He would deny Christ three times! Peter thought he was better than the other men, and Jesus told him he would be even more cowardly than the others. Peter’s response was to deny Christ’s word even more fervently, and the other disciples joined in this protest. Had Peter listened to the word and obeyed it, he would not have denied his Lord three times.
Lean on the everlasting arms, like the old hymn says, of Jesus Christ, Savior, King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Jesus, alpha and omega, from beginning to end, is I AM! When trust is tested, will we deny Him? Trust and obey for there’s no other way…
Lord, God in Heaven,
This small passage packs a big punch. The words fill my heart, mind and soul while asking myself what would I do if I were sitting among the disciples, hearing these words of prophecy coupled with their current situation which will fulfill what the prophets said in every detail. Who am I? Will I run? Will I stay but deny You to save myself? Times are coming and in some parts of the world is already here where that question is asked with retaliation. More than a vow said, I’m leaning to a decision based on what I do know. I have decided to follow you. No turning back, no turning back. I know the outcome. Life with you forever. This is the best plan for me. Continue to transform me to be and do all you created me to be and do. I need you every hour of every day. Help me to trust and obey no matter what.
In Jesus Name, Amen