Promises, promises - Hope 103.2

Promises, promises

By David ReayWednesday 8 Oct 2014LifeWords DevotionalsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Mark 14:27-31

27 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.’

28 But after I am raised from the dead,I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”

29 Peter said to him,”Even if everyone else deserts you,I never will.”

30 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.”

31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you,I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same. (NLT)

Words are cheap. Making promises is a breeze compared to keeping them. Peter and the disciples found this out. Jesus warns them that they will desert him and they assure him that they will not. A fine statement of intention,no doubt genuinely meant. But when the crunch came,they scattered sure enough. It is so very human to proclaim our loyalty,our commitment,our love. It is so very human to do as Peter did and see himself as somehow superior to others in that he wouldn’t let Jesus down whereas others might. He would be the exception to the rule Jesus was declaring.

Our lives are riddled with promises not kept and commitments not maintained. This does not make us bad people,but is a recognition of our humanity. We are full of good intentions. We will never make that mistake again. We won’t fail a second time. Easier said than done. Or we remark to ourselves and others that while certain people would do certain regrettable things,we will not. We are not like them. Shades of Simon Peter who figured he would be the solitary rock-like figure to Jesus in his hour of need. More like crumbling sandstone as it turned out!

There are times in our lives when we determine that from here on we will be totally devoted disciples of Jesus. Farewell half-heartedness,goodbye to that besetting sin. And no harm in that either. But be careful not to contaminate such determination with pride. By all means offer our devotion to Jesus but never forget what Jesus remembers: we are all too human. The sins we see in others may find their way to us. The old ways we thought we had put away might just creep back up on us. All our promises to love and cherish and trust Jesus are made in the context of our fallen humanity.

The good news is that Jesus doesn’t despise us for all that. He knows our actions so often fall short of our words. He knows we have trouble keeping our promises. He knows we like to think we are better than some others we could mention. His disciples did desert him for a while. But Jesus stuck with them. And it is so with us. The defining reality of our Christian life is not that we might occasionally desert Jesus,but that he will never ever desert us.

David Reay

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