Markby Robert M. Solomon
Jesus looked sadly at His disciples, knowing that they would be scattered like frightened sheep. Quoting Zechariah 13:7, He told them ″You will all fall away″ (v. 27). But He gave them hope, saying that He would rise from the dead, and would meet them in Galilee later. As usual, without pausing to think deeply about what Jesus had said, Simon Peter boldly declared, ″Even if all fall away, I will not″ (v. 29). Full of self-confidence, Peter thought that his commitment to Jesus was especially strong. What he said must have offended the others-not to be outdone, all promptly made the same declaration (v. 31).
Jesus must have looked lovingly at Peter; though impulsive, he was also guileless. He meant well but often spoke wrongly and acted clumsily. Jesus said, ″Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers″ (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus revealed what will happen to Peter, who was ignorant of his true condition and the nature of the spiritual battle he was fighting. That very night, before the rooster crowed twice, Peter will disown his Lord three times (v. 30; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12). Peter did not believe it. He was too sure of his strength under pressure. He ″insisted emphatically″ that he would stand by Jesus (v. 31). ″Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.″ It was nice to hear him speak like this, but Jesus knew his weaknesses, and looked at him with understanding eyes. He knew that Peter would repent after denying Jesus, and the Lord would restore him and give him the responsibility of leading the disciples (cf. John 21). Jesus would also tell Peter later of how he must die for Him (John 21:18-19), Christian tradition tells how Peter was finally crucified in Rome for preaching the gospel.
After hearing Peter profess his undying love for Jesus, the other disciples also joined the chorus of voices asserting unshakeable commitment. Many of the songs we sing in church make bold assertions about how much we love the Lord and how we are willing to give up all to follow Him. We must take care that our bold pronouncements are more than the mere movement of our lips.
Why is it important not to think too highly of oneself but to act with sober judgment (Romans 12:3)? Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. What is He saying to you? Have you said things to Him that you failed to carry out?
We are to humbly consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Such humility must be learned from Jesus (2:5-11). How can one be humble and yet ″obedient to death″?