Take Heed Lest You Fall
Mark 14:29 – Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
In a battle, soldiers are expected to be brave and faithful. It would be awful if a soldier flees from the invading army and deserts his fellow soldiers. As followers of Christ, we are sometimes tempted to deny Jesus and to abandon him for temporal gains or to save our lives. Even the disciples of Christ faced that temptation and eventually yielded to that temptation. During Jesus’ darkest hour, the disciples abandoned Jesus and fled from him.
Peter declares that he will never deny Jesus. He even says that if there’s a need, he will die, but he will not deny Jesus. Peter’s words show that he isn’t surprised that the other disciples will fall away (Mk 14:29). But Peter was too confident about himself. Peter believes that he is different from the rest of the disciples. Saints, the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. We must never become so proud that we think we will never fall.
Though Peter was overconfident about himself, Jesus tells him that he will deny Jesus thrice. The phrase, “Truly, I tell you” (Mk 14:30) conveys the certainty of Jesus’ prediction. “This very night” (Mk 14:30) conveys the immediate fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction. Peter’s denial was certain and imminent. Peter will deny Jesus not just once or twice, but thrice before the rooster crows!
Before we condemn Peter, we should look deep into our hearts. What would you do if you were in Peter’s place? Sometimes, we condemn others’ sins with a self-righteous attitude. But we fail to realize that if it were not for God’s grace, we would also commit the sins that others commit. James R. Edwards, a New Testament scholar writes, “The question is not what sins we have committed as much as what sins we would commit were we faced with serious pressure, temptation, opportunity, and threat.” It is easy to claim something like what Peter claimed when everything is smooth and easy. But when we are opposed and tested, our true colors are revealed.
Lent reminds us that we are sinful and vulnerable. That’s why Apostle Paul warns, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Let’s not believe in our own abilities. On our own, we are weak and sinful. Let’s not be proud and deceive ourselves by asserting that we will never fall. We are more sinful than we think we are: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Let’s be humble and be dependent on the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Father, help me to take heed of your warnings and remain humble all the days of my life.
Rev. Dr. David Mende