And he broke down and wept. – Mark 15:72 Have you ever felt like Peter? What I mean is have you ever fallen back into sin that you knew was your weakness? I know it wouldn’t have been like Jesus had told you, like he did Peter that you were going to fall hard but that in knowing yourself you knew that it was coming? Have you experienced that shame when you have fallen hard into sin and then you have to go face the one you love? I think we have all been there in some way. Some of us are more like Peter so those moments may come more often than we like.
Have you ever wondered if Peter had to deny Jesus? Or could the account of Peter’s denial ended differently? If we look at this account I believe that it could have played out totally different. When you look back at the rest of the evening when Peter denied Jesus there are a couple lessons learned that if we implement them we will not end up like Peter.
If we look back at Mark 15:26-31 we see the first failure of Peter and the first lesson leading up to his denial of Jesus. Jesus loved his disciples and as such he wanted to tell them, possibly warn them of things to come. So he tells them that they will all flee and scatter that night. Like most of us, they deny it and tell Jesus we will stick with you. Peter goes even farther to say that they will all fall away from Jesus but that he will not. That is when Jesus tells Peter that not only will he flee but in the process he will deny Jesus 3 times. Then Peter with even more pride says that he would even die with Jesus before he denies him. This section is covered with the pride of Peter. What if when Jesus told them they would fall away they responded in humility and said, “Lord, please no, what can we do to not fall away from you?” What if Peter instead of arrogantly throwing the rest of the disciples under the bus said, “Lord help us to stand strong like you helped me walk on water?”
Today if we want to stay holy before our Savior, if we want to be a bold witness for him then it is going to require humility. Instead of going it alone we need to recognize our capacity to sin and fall at any time and position ourselves to be helped.
The second lesson comes in Gethsemane when Jesus goes to pray. Jesus expresses to the disciples his current pain and sorrow. He then takes Peter, James, and John deeper to pray with him. Jesus is in agony as he see the next couple of days and what he will go through, especially the separation from his Father. Three times Jesus leaves the three to go pray and tells them to do the same. Three times, isn’t that ironic. All three times despite sharing his pain with them, despite telling them they would fall away from Jesus, despite telling Peter that he would deny him in a few hours they fall asleep. They don’t watch and pray they simply fall asleep. What if Peter in those moments had been crying out to the father to comfort Jesus and for the strength to not deny Jesus? Would Mark 15 have ended differently? Would Peter have been mocked instead of running away weeping?
Not only must we remain humble but we must also be in constant prayer to overcome and honor our Father. What are the excuses you use to not spend time with Jesus? What are the reasons you are too busy or too tired? Our holiness is at stake, the power that comes through fellowship with the Lord is at stake and we sleep or watch TV instead of being in prayer. You fill in the excuse because most of us have one.
Life is busy and life can be hard but we make it even more difficult when we let our pride get in the way and when we neglect time with our Savior. Jesus knew that the road was going to be tough and so he spent the hours before his arrest in prayer. Peter had been warned that his road would be tough and he slept.
Who will you be? Will you be the Peter who slept and denied Jesus or will you be the one we never saw who humbled himself and found strength through prayer?