“Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away’” (Matthew 26:33).
Prior to Jesus’ death, Peter’s trust in himself rather than God distorted his judgment concerning loyalty to Jesus.
Like a self-willed child, Peter often heard and believed only what he wanted to. He failed to grasp the Lord’s warning that his faith would be severely tested. At the Last Supper Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). But Peter was unfazed by these words. Instead, he boasted, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (v. 33).
Christ in His divine wisdom knew that Peter’s claim would not hold true. Therefore, He went further and soberly predicted during the Supper that Peter would soon not only desert His Lord but also deny Him three times. Now in Matthew 26, following Peter’s latest outburst of overconfidence, Jesus is constrained to repeat His prediction. Amazingly, Peter did not believe the thrust of Jesus’ words. He would rather fool himself and believe that Jesus was mistaken about his faithfulness and loyalty.
In reality, Peter’s pride deceptively told him it was impossible for him to deny the Lord. It also deceived him by filling him with a sense of superiority over others and a supreme confidence in his own strength.
Like Peter, we often display our pride and ignorance when we brashly claim great self-confidence about something that turns out just the opposite a short time later. For example, we might presumptuously assert to Christian friends that we always maintain our testimony, no matter what the situation. Then, to our shame, the very next week we lie, cheat, or shade the truth to get ourselves out of a difficult circumstance.
But what a reassurance to know that Jesus was willing to die for proud, thoughtless disciples such as Peter and careless followers such as us. Furthermore, our Lord is constantly in the business of forgiving and restoring those who stumble: “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that today and every day God would make you more confident in His grace and power and less reliant on your own wisdom.
For Further Study
Read Matthew 16:13-28. What important principle in verses 24-26 can help you avoid Peter’s impulsive mistakes?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.