Today’s Scripture: Mark 14:27-31
27 On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
29 Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
30 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
When he was younger, Evan had a book version of the kids chanting game “Who Stole the Cookie From The Cookie Jar?”. Every character gets accused of stealing a cooking from the cookie jar – and every character responds with “Who me? Couldn’t Be!”
I think about that book when I read this passage. Jesus and the disciples had just finished the last supper. The words of Jesus had to have been swimming in their heads about the bread and the wine – the body and the blood. They were sure to have been feeling very close to Jesus.
But as they were talking back to the Mount of Olives, Jesus throws this line at them “All of you will desert me.”
Who me? Couldn’t be!
Peter was especially insulted. “You might be right about everyone else, Jesus. But I will NEVER desert you. I would DIE before that happens.”
Of course, we know the rest of the story.
Peter will end up denying Jesus that very night. The disciples scatter.
If you are like me you have a vision of yourself as someone who is strong in their faith, always trusts God, never doubts, and never abandons Jesus. We are like Peter – confident in our ability to be the best disciple. But then the darkness comes, and we realize we are more like Peter than we thought – ready to chuck it all because it’s not so easy.
I think we need to understand that we DO have the propensity to overstate our loyalty. And yes, we are all like Peter in some respects – moving from devotion to denial at lighting speed. But more than that, we need to understand that it’s OK to be that way.
We know that Peter ends up denying Jesus. But we also know that Peter is restored, forgiven, and is the leader and foundation of the entire Christian church. If God can use Peter, with his bragging and then his failing, God will surely use us.
So today, if you are a loyalist – loudly declaring your allegiance, or if you are a denier – wondering where faith has gone, have courage. Jesus welcomes us no matter where we are. Jesus stays put even when we are all over the place. Jesus remains even when we declare “Who me? Couldn’t Be!”
God as we go through the week there will be time when we will declare completely loyalty to you. And there will be times our faith seems to wane. Help us to be humble when we feel pulled toward bragging about our discipleship. And remind of your grace when we don’t live up to being a disciple at all.