“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
Mingled into the fabric of the betrayal, arrest, conviction and crucifixion of Christ, is the story of Peter’s denial. What happened to him? He went from confidently stating he would never deny Christ, to hiding his faith, denying his Lord, and bitterly weeping. While we never start out to fall, the path we walk will always determine our final destination. Peter’s path inevitably led to Peter’s fall. Let’s take a few minutes to notice the steps leading to his failure, that we might avoid these same pitfalls.
First, notice the pride of Peter, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Pride will always cause us to put our guard down and open us up to failure.
Second, notice that while he should have been praying, he was sleeping. How often we neglect to make spiritual investments because other things become more pressing.
Third, we read he attempted to do spiritual battle in the arm of the flesh. Having neglected to watch and pray, Peter was left to pull out a sword for battle. How ineffective the flesh is, to battle in the realm of the Spirit.
Fourth, we read, “Peter followed Him at a distance.” Instead of realizing his failure and running to Jesus, Peter’s fear caused him to keep his distance. Satan is so good at getting us to sin, then convincing us that we are guilty and must stay in our sin, rather than running to Christ.
Fifth, notice where Peter is hanging out. Eleven friends had been following Jesus together for over 3 years, yet in a time when his faith is being tested the most, Peter is hanging out in the enemy’s camp. How different the story would have been if these eleven men had returned to the garden for prayer and fellowship.
Finally, Mark gives us an interesting insight into the story that is particularly relevant. He tells us, before the third denial, there was the sound of a rooster crowing. In the 11th hour of temptation, Jesus is still giving warning signs to keep Peter from his fall and the subsequent misery. Instead of heeding the warning, Peter continues down the road until his sin is complete.
Let’s learn a lesson from Peter’s failure and draw near to Jesus today.