Have you ever said, "I will never...."?November 23, 2015
by Rob Globke
31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
“I never will”
Even though you have to admire Peter’s zeal in these three words, they are probably a few he would like to have back. Peter is so bold, so full of zeal. Always willing to lay it on the line. Also, so quick to act or speak without thinking. This is the beauty of Peter and also one of his great weaknesses. He just doesn't seem to know when to stop. Even after Jesus (who is God) tells him, “You will disown me three times,” he still decides to double down on his assertion from verse 33 that he will, “Never disown Christ even to the point of death.”
Of course, we know the rest of the story (Matt. 26:63-75). Peter does indeed disown his Lord and Savior. Not once, not twice, but thrice. Peter goes from flying high to crushed….all in a single night. Now, it’s easy for us to think, “Come on Pete, really!?!?! How could you ever do something like that? Did you forget your claims from only a few hours before?” Then, after these thoughts we silently reassure ourselves that we would never, could never, do something so stupid.
YET, if we are honest, we are just like Peter.
Let’s not begin talking about life in the spiritual realm and just look at our lives in the game of hockey...after all, we are hockey players aren’t we?
- We may say I will never turn the puck over at the blue line ever again (Yeah, maybe if we never played hockey again!)
- We may say I will never miss another open net (Never? Every practice, every game, every driveway way shinny game we will bury all our open net opportunities? Ok. good luck with that.)
- We may say I will never take another penalty which will cost my team (Are we forgetting we are a human!!)
We have all been in these “skates” before. Immediately after a bad play or tough loss, the sting and emotion still fresh, we vow never to do XY or Z again. We throw out promise after promise with sheer determination to be mistake free. But, we know this never lasts. The same can be said for our spiritual lives. Again, using hockey as our reference.
- We may claim “I will never gossip about a teammate behind their back”
- Immediately after saying something inappropriate in the dressing room, we think to ourselves, “I’m not doing that again.”
- As we sit in the box ashamed of a selfish and anger filled penalty, we pledge to certainly not make that mistake again.
The list could go on and on, but the reality as we all know is that we are no better or different than Peter. We all break some sort of promise. We may boldly proclaim we will never fall short, but we all do. We all miss the mark at some point or another. We all end up eating our words (or thoughts), just like Peter.
The great news is that the story doesn’t stop there. Watch what Jesus does in John 21:15-17 as he is handing off the baton to his disciples.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus did not leave Peter hanging with guilt. Not once, not twice, but three times He reaffirms Peter. Jesus does not leave us hanging when we miss the mark either. Instead, He chose to hang on a tree so that we might be forgiven and made new again. This is the great lesson we learn from Peter. We all fail, but take heart, we serve the One who never does.
So, are you just going to sit there with your head down, or are you going to get back out there and live in light of your new life? Don’t let your mistakes have the last laugh. Let your light shine!