A CURE FOR SELF DECEPTION
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.’ But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” 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.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
Mark 14:27-31 NLT
All four of the gospel writers include these words of Jesus and brief conversation with Peter. It was a very significant passage because Jesus was attempting to prepare His followers for His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. He wanted them to know the pain and disappointment would be real but there was something good that was coming. As Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament book of Zechariah (13:7) about God striking the Shepherd (Jesus) and the sheep (disciples) being scattered. He was trying to prepare them for their scattering. Immediately after quoting the passage from Zechariah Jesus tells them, “But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” I believe Jesus was trying to let them know things are about to get bad, but there will be a resurrection and I will be with you again. Peter and the disciples only seemed to hear the first part of what Jesus said—the part about being scattered and the disciples deserting Him. Peter, once again, seems to think he needs to correct Jesus. I want everyone to know he is beyond failure. He is all in. He is willing to die rather than deny. I believe at that moment Peter thought that was the truth. He could not imagine himself failing to support Jesus. He was not aware of his own humanity. This statement from Peter reminds me of the words the apostle Paul would write as a warning to the believers in Corinth and to us, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor 10:12). The moment we think we are beyond sin and failure is the moment we open the door to destruction. Those are moments we can begin to depend on our own strength instead of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. In my personal life I have found that after great moments of victory is when I am most vulnerable to mess up. Perhaps I allow myself to open the door to pride and that ushers in self-deception. I think I am beyond that sin. After working for over forty years in ministry I have come to believe that almost any person, given the right circumstances, can fall into sin. I am always careful to judge others and condemn their actions as being something I would never do. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me stay humble and careful. I’m not as good as I sometimes think I am.
Holy Spirit please help me to always listen to You and the Word of God. I choose to submit to Your Word. I am not above Your Word. I am not the exception. Your Word is truth. I choose to submit to You and walk humbly before my God.
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