The story of Jesus is called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” I think that Holy Week is maybe the neatest part of the story. And today’s Gospel reading is one of the reasons. In our first reading today we’re back in Isaiah, today chapter 49, hearing more about the The Servant of the Lord. “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” In the Gospel reading from John 13, we see Peter at his best.
Peter could not have known about Jesus’ cryptic saying, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” But in classic Peter style, he retorts, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Would Peter have had that same response if he had known what was about to happen? I tend to think so. Just a few short moments later, when Peter could not even stay awake with the Lord, Jesus would explain why very clearly. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Indeed, Peter would deny the Master three times.
You can’t fault Peter. He was brimming with confidence. He really believed that his faith could not be shaken. I like his attitude! In fact, I daresay that I would probably be the same. Unfortunately, the result is often the same in my life. When asked to stand up for my faith, I shrink or waver. The good news is, we see how Peter turned out. Though he fell mightily in the clutch, he came back with a vengeance. If I can get just a sliver of that faith, I’ll be just fine.
Father, forgive us for those times when we overestimate our own strength. Help us to always rely on your strength; for then, we cannot fail. Amen.