When we fall away
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
Have you ever promised God something? Maybe you've sworn it in your prayers or tried to make a bargain with God. Usually we do this when there is something we want in return. Things like, “Lord, if you give me that bike, I’ll never pirate movies again,” or “If you wipe off this debt, I’ll never forget to pay tithe again!”
Here we see Peter doing something similar. He’s making a bold statement, a promise to God of what he will definitely do. Maybe he’s looking for brownie points or he thinks he’s stronger or braver than everybody else. Jesus is warning his disciples and letting them know exactly what will happen but Peter thinks he knows better. He thinks that whatever happens to the others, he is such a follower of God that he could never fall away. Often our pride sets us up in this place of defiance. We swear that we will do something or change something but we cannot see the future.
Notice Jesus' response. He tells Peter that he will fall away. When Peter disagrees, He doesn't push the issue. He just leaves it. He allows Peter to make his own mistakes. God is like that with us. We make great claims and bluster, we promise total obedience or change, but He knows the beginning from the end. Like Peter we don't always follow through. But when we fail and fall, He is still willing to take us back. That's the good news. No matter how many times we come up short or don’t follow through, Christ will always take us back.
It all depends on how we respond. Often we react with shame and guilt. We've messed up so we refuse to approach our King to ask for forgiveness. Our prayer life and our witness is weakened because we choose to stay away from the source of our strength. We remember our denial, our fault; and we refuse Gods forgiveness.
Let's swallow our pride, give up our control and come back into God’s love today. It is the only way we can experience true power as Christians—if we are humble enough to start living in God's forgiveness and love.
Jarrod Stackelroth is associate editor of Adventist Record.