When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
Peter was overconfident.
He didn’t know what was in him. But Jesus did.
He thought strong love and strong passion would trump all fear. He was wrong.
Peter, in essence, was saying, “Hey Jesus! Look at me! Look how far I’ve come! Look how great I am at following you now! I’m da man, Jesus! I can do this thing!”
And Jesus sadly says, “You will fall away”.
With seemingly righteous indignation, the disciple Peter spews again, “ Whoa ho ho, brother! I am your right hand man! Those other guys, they might turn tail and run, but not me, Jesus. I got your back!
And Jesus says with tears, “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.”
“No, Jesus, No! I love you the most—look at all I’ve done for you! I thought you knew me better. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it! I’ll never deny you, man! Watch me! My actions will speak louder than my words!
And Jesus nods in sorrow, knowing that the disciple has finally spoken truth. Knowing that soon Peter’s pain will be as strong as his love.
For it’s not the strength of Peter that made him love so much—It’s the Lord who allowed the power of devotion—it’s the Lord who made him strong. Peter’s love for Peter’s love was stronger that Peter’s love for Jesus. Get it?
“[Peter did love Jesus]—as many Christians do! But great love risks a greater pride. For the very strength of their loving sometimes dazzles and flatters them—until they trust that love more than its Lord. But their loving response to Jesus, however strong, is always exactly that: a response to Jesus, empowered by Jesus. He enables the loving!”
--taken from “Reliving the Passion” by Walter Wangerin Jr.
But that’s not the end of the story. Stay tuned for Peter part two.