Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
When I was dating Helen, on the day after her birthday I asked her this all-important question: “Will you marry me?” Her response was to laugh and laugh, but finally she re-sponded with, “Yes!” Then I began to wrestle with the thought, “I love her today, but how do I know I will be able to love her 10 or 20 years from now?”
We see this kind of fickleness in Peter. Peter says to Jesus before he is arrested, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Peter makes this promise to Jesus, but later that same night he denies even knowing Jesus. Later, when he realizes what he has done, Peter goes outside and weeps bitterly.
Peter weeps bitter tears because he has broken a promise with his best friend. This is a breakdown of relationship and community. At this point Peter is probably also wrestling with his identity. Who is Peter? Is he the Peter who says he will never disown Jesus, or is he the Peter who blatantly disowns him when questioned?
I love Helen still today because of a promise, a covenant, we made with each other. Our promise is rooted in Jesus, the great promise-keeper, and this anchor gives us identity and creates a rich, joy- and peace-filled community of life.
Thank you, Jesus, for being the great promise-keeper and giving us an anchor in a very fickle world. We praise you for redeeming us, even when we break our promises. Amen.
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