On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same. (NLT)
Many of us can recall times when we vowed to God that from then on things would be different. No more dabbling in discipleship, no more half-hearted commitments. We would do whatever God told us to do and go wherever he wanted us to go.
None of us kept those promises, at least not fully. We discover that it is much easier to make bold statements than take bold action. Much easier to promise than to perform. That is the not so good news. The much better news is that Jesus is not surprised by this. He knows that what we earnestly desire or promise does not always come true. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Peter is just one prominent example of this. He was adamant he would not let Jesus down when the crunch came. Jesus saw through it, though Peter went on affirming his loyalty. Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself.
Peter didn’t keep his promise. But Jesus didn’t cynically dismiss him or the others. He did not rage against their hypocrisy. Days later, on the shore of a lake, Jesus not only restored Peter but gave him special responsibilities. A reminder that while our faith in Jesus is so often fickle. Jesus’ faith in us is always firm.