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Aug 2 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Eighty-five – Matthew 26:31-35

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Matthew 26:33

Jesus did not imply that the disciples were cowards because they would “fall away” that night nor scold them for abandoning him in his hour of need. His point had less to do with their actions later on and everything to do with the fact that he was telling them something about himself, “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered” (v. 31). Jesus was not criticizing his sheep for scattering, that is what sheep do.

Although Jesus did not present his prediction of their flight as a challenge, Peter took it as one. Assuming that the Lord was accusing him of cowardice, Peter exclaimed, “I will never desert You!” This was not the response Jesus wanted to elicit from his disciples. This sad hour was not about Peter, yet he seized it and made it about himself. In doing so, he set himself up for even greater failure and grief.

The self-denial that Jesus demands of his followers means we must relinquish the idea that we are the center of the universe (Mt. 16:24-25). It means we have to remind ourselves sometimes, “It is not about me.” Some people read the Bible and assume all it has to say to them is how bad they are and that God has condemned them. But we get at the truth only when we are able to forget ourselves and bring our attention to the Lord Jesus. We then discover God’s love and mercy.

You knew, O Lord, what Your disciples were going to do, but they had no idea what was going to happen to You or the agony You felt that last night together. Were You looking for compassion, sympathy, and support from them? If so, how sad it was that they could only think of defending themselves needlessly. Help us, Jesus, to get out of ourselves. Be always in the foreground of our thoughts and may we fade into the background.

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