September 21

Text: Matthew 26:33-35

But Peter answered and said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away."  Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times."  Peter *said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too.   (NASB)

If you make a promise you cannot keep, the person who loses the most is you.  A godly person wants to keep his/her word.  To fail to honor your word makes you call your righteousness into question (consider Psalms 15:4, 5).  When you question yourself in a matter of solid confidence, you are in serious trouble.  When a person of deep faith questions his own trustworthiness, the person loses respect for self.  For others to lose confidence in you is awful.  For you to lose confidence in yourself is devastating.

What was so destructive about Peter’s promise was his confident, genuine intent.  He was certain he could keep his promise.  He unquestionably knew that he would rather be dead than to desert Jesus.

Thus he could say in sincere confidence, “Not me!  The other 10 may run, but I will not!  That will never happen!”  When a professional fisherman with one sword (no group fighting with him) fought that many trained, prepared soldiers, that fisherman was ready to die!  If Peter could die his way as he defended Jesus, he was ready to die—at least he would go down fighting!

When Jesus told him to put up his sword, instantly the situation changed.  If Peter died, it would be Jesus’ way—not Peter’s.  Suddenly a certain situation was uncertain.  What had seemed heroic now seemed wasteful.  A horrible situation unfolded!  The rooster crowed, and Peter knew how miserably he failed.  The recovery was not one about faith in Jesus—it was about learning to trust himself, the failure.

Our faith must be in Jesus, not in self.  Trusting Jesus is success.  Trusting self is failure.

Suggestion for reflection: The challenge is learning Jesus’ way.  (Read Romans 5:1-11.)

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