Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Mark 14:29
At the last Passover meal with Jesus, Peter made a promise he couldn’t keep. In accordance with the Scriptures, Jesus tells the disciples they will all fall away. Peter, always the impulsive one, declares, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
Peter is speaking out of self-reliance; out of pride and emotion. Always the recipe for disaster. Jesus knows it is a promise Peter can’t keep and tells him so. He is even specific about when the denial will take place: this very night, before the rooster crows.
Despite specifics uttered by Jesus, Peter becomes more emphatic, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” Peter is speaking based on his feelings at the moment. They just had a nice meal. They learned of a new covenant. They are singing hymns. Everything feels good – feels right – at the moment. Peter is pumped and feeling brave.
Jesus, on the other hand, is well aware of the intense spiritual battle raging all around. Staying grounded, resisting temptation, facing fears, doing the right thing when it is hard takes more than simply an impassioned promise made in a safe environment.
Oswald Chambers says, “Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it… Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant… Jesus had a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him…beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God”
Question: Why is it so hard to follow and obey Jesus in our own power?