March 06, 2017

Promises, Promises

Matthew 26:31-35

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

—  Matthew 26:33

As the sun set over the walls of Jerusalem behind them, Jesus and his eleven followers walked up the slope toward the garden on the Mount of Olives. He told them that on “this very night” the disciples would scatter like sheep and desert him. He had also said earlier that he would be arrested and condemned to death (Matthew 20:18-19). But Peter and all the disciples objected, saying that they were not going anywhere, that they would remain with Jesus through whatever crisis might come.

As a pastor, I often presided at ceremonies where serious vows were spoken: weddings, baptisms, professions of faith, ordinations of church deacons and elders. As I would help to prepare people to make these vows, I would also try to persuade myself that they seriously intended to keep their promises. Sometimes I would wonder whether they really understood what they were getting into.

Thanks to Peter, I don’t have to wonder whether the disciples understood. Peter said, in effect, “I know that what happens tonight may be a life-or-death situation, but I will be there for you, Jesus, even if I have to die defending you!” The other disciples did not hesitate to make the same sweeping promise.

But did they keep their commitment? Do we?

Spirit of God, etch in our hearts and minds the promises we have made—to spouses, parents, children, friends, neighbors, and you. Help us to keep our promises. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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