“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered’… But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” …Peter declared, “even if all fall away I will not.” “I tell you the truth before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” Jesus responded. But Peter insisted, “even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” The others said the same. (Mark 14:27-31 NIV)
Now, you’re probably expecting me to go on about Peter’s failure here. I will not. Simply put Peter did a number on his testimony and temporarily lost his senses. It was a mistake, but maybe you can point to a time in your own life when you did the same.
I want to concentrate on motive. Peter’s heart was in the right place as was the hearts of the other disciples. They wanted to be true and faithful to Christ. We see in Gethsemane Peter drew a sword and cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear. He clearly intended to go through with an act of physical violence on Christ’s behalf. Maybe he was aiming for the throat but in the darkness stumbled over a rock and cut his ear off instead. I believe that at this point Peter intended to show his devotion to Christ and let Jesus know that he really did mean what he had said and said what he meant. But as Christ rebuked him, his wild hysteria subsided and as Jesus was arrested Peter was left alone with his thoughts.
Maybe this is why he prayed for the disciples not to fall into temptation. They were strong one minute but running the next. It only takes a split second for Satan to counter our motives of devotion. When the smoke settles and we are left alone to ponder as Peter was, Satan may get the upper hand on us like he did Peter. In a moment of doubt or fear our feelings can suddenly change.
Remember when Peter walked out to Jesus on the water? He was perfectly sound one minute but got his eyes off Christ and began to sink the next. He did something similar in Gethsemane. When our focus is on Jesus we cannot be moved. It is when we take our eyes off Him that we stumble in the darkness.