Love God? Sometimes I hate Him!

-Martin Luther (in answer to a question about whether he truly loved God)


We’re sure to tell God of our intentions to obey him and in the hour of our testing we miss the mark.  Okay, you haven’t.  But for the rest of us who have—we can relate with Peter.  Peter wasn’t alone that night in his self-assured profession—the other disciples just had enough sense to not be so loud.  And it should be no wonder that zealous Peter still has plenty of company today, whether we open our mouths or not.  We are no different than the original twelve. 

On the eve of Jesus’ arrest, Jesus tells his disciples they will fall to pieces and Peter essentially says no way.

Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”

Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.   (Matthew 26:33-35, The Message Bible)

One moment brash Peter is promising Jesus he’ll stand steadfast by his side—and the next minute he’s brandishing a sword and cutting off the ear of one of Jesus’ captors.  Peter thinks he’s validated his commitment to Jesus while Jesus knows better. 

The lessons of Gethsemane are plentiful—but one that has stood the test of time is simple: Jesus’ idea and our idea of what it looks like to be his disciple are often at odds.  Jesus knew a thing or two that Peter didn’t know—following Jesus isn’t about slaying his enemies, or even staying awake with him when we should be praying.  Peter, like us, had to experience a personal moment of crisis in regards to his outspoken declaration of character and as a result he learned that following Jesus is about painfully recognizing ones fallibility—no matter how tedious and time consuming a process it encompasses.  Remember, it was only moments before wrongly defending Jesus (as if Jesus the Son of God needed any), that Peter was swearing up and down he’d never do such a thing as deny him—only to do that very thing before the sun comes up the next morning.  It was with one vicious swipe of a sword it sure looked like Peter meant business.  But it wasn’t the business of Jesus. 

Rather than showing Jesus his commitment—he shows us all his lack of it.  Jesus isn’t looking for our swords or our big talk, he’s got it handled. 

What he wants is us.