“And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75 (ESV)
One word comes to mind when assessing the life of Peter….. Peter was strong, fearless, sure of himself, outspoken—all great qualities—but Peter suffered from a common malady among gifted men, and especially leaders…he was overconfident.
Like Peter, we would all like to think of ourselves as “above average.” At times our hearts are so filled with God’s goodness and love, and our praise and adoration of Him is nothing but red hot fiery passion. We are so in love with Jesus we would do anything for Him….Lord you want me to sell everything and go to Africa….sure! Lay hands on the sick….visit the incarcerated—no problem! Caught up in the moment of His goodness and glorious Presence and out of our deepest heartfelt gratitude, we make promises. And we mean it. We sincerely mean it. Peter genuinely meant it when he said to Jesus “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
Did you get that?….Everyone else. Not me, I am different. My relationship with Christ is unique. Though we would never say it out loud… mine is better than yours. Though everyone else but not me. Confidence is great! Confidence is important. Thank God for it, but overconfidence is a killer. Rooted in pride the overconfident one believes that they are somehow different and better than everyone else. However, tested by the fire, it melts. Ironically, as Peter stood by the fire and warmed himself, his overconfidence liquefied. He was under pressure. He was alone. He was afraid. He failed.
Thank God that the story does not end there. The cock crowed. Peter cried. Jesus died. He is Risen…Peter was forgiven. Jesus who knows the hearts of all men knows that we mean well. He also remembers our frame, that we are made of dust and He takes pity on us, bends down once again, wipes the slate clean, and reinstates us to a place of confidence….this time in Him.
Practical application: We are all like Peter, subject to fluctuating emotions we often make promises we can’t keep. Let us be slow to speak. Let us be merciful to others with the Peter syndrome and love them. Pray for them. And like Jesus, forgive them.