31 Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. 32 But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 33 Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!” 34 “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” 35 “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.
27 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will run away, because it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 28 But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 29 Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away, I will certainly not!” 30 “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times!” 31 But he kept insisting, “If I have to die with You, I will never deny You!” And they all said the same thing.
31 “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 “Lord,” he told Him, “I’m ready to go with You both to prison and to death!” 34 “I tell you, Peter,” He said, “the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me!”
35 He also said to them, “When I sent you out without money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals, did you lack anything ?”
“Not a thing,” they said.
36 Then He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one. 37 For I tell you, what is written must be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted among the outlaws. Yes, what is written about Me is coming to its fulfillment.” 38 “Lord,” they said, “look, here are two swords.”
“Enough of that!” He told them.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him at once. 33 “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you. 34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to Him, “where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!”
“I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”
What food would you never eat? What place would you never visit? What words would you never say to your family?
What sin would you never commit?
We all can think of “those” sins, the ones we just know we would never be caught doing, but sometimes, we’re completely horrified to find ourselves doing those very things.
Peter thought that way, too. When Jesus announced to the disciples that the shepherd (Jesus) would be struck down and His sheep (the disciples) would be scattered, Peter couldn’t imagine himself capable of deserting Jesus. “Not me, Jesus!” He boldly declared. “Even if everyone else runs away, I won’t!”
Peter had a history of bold, rash statements and actions. When Jesus walked on the water, Peter shouted, “Lord, if it’s You…command me to come to You on the water.”1 When Jesus responded by telling him to come, Peter clamored out of the boat and was already walking on the water toward Jesus before it hit him what he was doing and he started to sink. Another time, when the disciples were out fishing and recognized Jesus on the shore, Peter unabashedly flung himself out of the boat in his hurry to get to Jesus, while the rest of the disciples brought in the boat.2
When Peter did something, he did it 110%, and that’s how he followed Jesus. Run away? Scatter? How absurd!
Yet, Jesus told him, before a day had passed, Peter would do what he couldn’t imagine himself doing…three times.
Jesus knew that “we all stumble in many ways.”3 All of us, if left to our own sinful, evil selves, will completely mess up, fail, stumble, and make a disaster out of our lives.
Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.” We’re all liable to fall, even if we think we’ve got our balance. Even if we’re strong. Even if the sin seems so ludicrous we don’t think we need to guard ourselves against it.
Jesus knew it with Peter, and He knows it with us. His words predicting Peter’s fall appear in all four gospels, but in John, they’re immediately followed by these words of Jesus: Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.4
What words of comfort! Just when we realize how dreadfully sinful our hearts still are, how hopeless our situation, how unreliable our character, Jesus reminds us that our trust isn’t supposed to be in our own deceitful hearts anyway.
The only way any of us can avoid the trap of sin is through the strength of Christ. Only through Him will we avoid sin and live lives that will bring Him glory. This means coming before Him in prayer every day, reading, studying, and meditating on His Word, relying on and leaning on Him, and not our own “goodness” to make it through tough and tempting situations.
When all is said and done, it will be Jesus Himself who holds us up and completes the good work He started in us,5 not our own strength and morality that makes us more like Him. Knowing that our strength comes from Him, let us do all we can to immerse our lives in His truth and strength so that we will live lives that bring Him honor and glory, not shame and scandal.
1 Matt. 14:28, HCSB
2 John 21:7-8, HCSB
3 James 3:2, HCSB
4 John 14:1, HCSB
5 Phil 1:6, HCSB
- Think back to a time when you failed in a way that surprised you. What conditions in your life made you more likely to fail? Were you relying on yourself? Neglecting your time with God?
- What did God teach you through your failure?
- What are you doing now to safeguard yourself against sin?
- How has God’s Word kept you from sin? How has God kept you from sin in other ways?