Matthew 26:33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
As is almost always the case, Peter’s biggest problem was pride. As it says in verse 35, all the disciples were protesting that they would never abandon Jesus, but Peter explicitly puts himself above the others. I feel sure that’s why the Lord arranged the special circumstances of the rooster crowing, to drive it home to Peter that he had no special status from which to look down on anyone else. That makes it all the more ironic that the Catholics have raised Peter to such a supreme status. As Jesus emphasized repeatedly, His kingdom isn’t a matter of status. He said it flat out when James’ and John’s mother came to him for special favors (Matthew 20:20-28), and then He drove the point home when He washed His disciples’ feet. (John 13:1-17) Everyone has moments when they do better than the person next to them, but they also have moments when they do worse. As Paul pointed out, “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12) And, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12) I had never noticed before just now that the only difference in those two references is the single digit of 2 Corinthians and 1 Corinthians! I would hesitate to call that significant, but it is interesting nonetheless. We are indeed to seek to be the best we can be, but our competition is ourselves, not anyone else. Peter thought he would do better than the others, and the Lord had to set him very firmly in his place.
As I am reminded frequently, I have certainly had my struggles with pride, and I’m sadly sure I’m not through yet. I have been greatly blessed throughout my life, from genetics to environment to all of it. The only appropriate response would have been humble gratitude, but I wasn’t always grateful and I certainly wasn’t always humble. Thankfully, God has been incredibly patient with me, repeating lessons as many times as I needed them and putting up with some incredible nonsense. I don’t currently worry about betraying my Lord, not because I don’t think I’m capable of it, but because I know I can’t rely on my own strength, so I rely on His. At this point in my life I seem to be a model for many, but that’s simply because I’ve hung in there, mistakes and all. If God could do it for me, He can do it for anybody! My goal is simply that God would find me faithful, because His is the only evaluation that counts.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You have brought me through, including this recent bout of COVID. Thank You that we are liberated from quarantine. I ask for wisdom in how we are to use each moment of today, and indeed, this rather packed week, so that Your purposes may be accomplished in and through us on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!