And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
(Matthew 26:30-35 ESV)
Yesterday Jesus told His eleven remaining disciples that each of them would desert Him later that night because of their association with Him. Peter objects, claiming that he will never fall away and will not deny Jesus.
Jesus was God. Peter knew this [Matthew 16:16]. Yet here in this passage we see Peter contradicting Him; Peter tells God that He is wrong. In fact in this one passage He does it twice! But this is not all that uncommon. Many people don’t believe what God tells them about themselves.
God tells us, among other things, that we are weak [Mark 14:38], we are sinful [Psalm 51:5], we cannot do anything good [Romans 3:10], and we are inherently evil [Mark 7:21-22]. Everyone rejects these concepts, at least at first.
Some come to realize they are true and humble themselves and seek God’s forgiveness. These are the one’s Jesus calls “born again” – those who have had a spiritual awakening and who see and believe these truths [John 3:3]. Others never believe them. Many spend much of their lives fighting against these truths.
It was Peter’s pride that prevented Him from believing that He would abandon Jesus. And it is pride that prevents people from believing that they are sinners and are inherently evil.
But notice that while Peter proclaimed that he would never abandon Jesus, he was sure that the other ten would all fall away. Peter thought he was better than the other disciples. Again, this is the way of all of us. People refuse to believe the negative things God says about them but we are more than willing to believe those same negative characteristics apply to others.
It should be noted that God tells His children some other things. Among them are we are loved [1 Thessalonians 1:4], we are a masterpiece [Ephesians 2:10], we are created for a purpose [Jeremiah 29:11], we are valuable [1 Corinthians 7:23], we are intentionally created [Psalm 139:14], we are part of His family [John 1:12], and most of all – we are forgiven [Ephesians 1:7]. Yet even many Christians have trouble believing these things as well.
Many Christians live like we are not these things. We think God is angry at us for all the mistakes we make in deed and thought. But He isn’t. All our sins were forgiven at the cross.
We are weak, sinful, and inherently evil just like God says. But that is not how God views us anymore. God doesn’t even see the sins of those who have accepted His free offer of forgiveness through Jesus [Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19].
When we disbelieve what God tells us, either the good or the bad, we are calling God a liar. We all do it all the time – believers and nonbelievers alike. In fact, this wasn’t the first time Peter told Jesus/God that He was wrong [Matthew 16:22]. But whenever we do God’s response is the same. He will never chastise us or forsake us [Deuteronomy 31:6]. He simply continues to try to make us see the light. He is forever patient and forever forgiving [Psalm 86:15].
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