But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
Peter was very certain about what he would and wouldn’t do. He was no doubt convinced that what he had said was true. In his heart, he wanted it to be true. But as is so often the case with our boasting, he was unable to uphold what he had so strongly claimed. So where had he gone wrong? If this was truly a sincere desire in his heart, how did he end up crushed and broken by his denials of Jesus? What had overtaken his resolve to die for Jesus if necessary?
One thing, surely, was his inability to recognize his own weakness. Certainly pride played a part in it. And this is a stumblingblock that none of us are immune to. We don’t like to think that we’ll fall flat on our faces in failure or that we’ll do the exact opposite of what we really wanted to do. We don’t like to admit those places where our faith may waver or where we might not be as strong as we think we should be. And certainly in front of other people, we’re more likely to paint a more flattering picture of who we are than what we know ourselves to be deep down inside.
Certainly a major part was that sinful flesh within us all. Doesn’t it so often take us off guard and rear its ugly head at those critical moments and cause us to give in? Surely Peter was fearful of what the people would think of him, what they might do to him, and so he lied and cursed and denied. His flesh won out to try to blend in. That instinct of self-preservation won out over his reason. And so while he may not have ever intended to deny Jesus, that’s what he ended up doing. And we can all relate to that, as well.
But perhaps what hindered Peter most that fateful night was a lack of spiritual power in his life. If he would have simply considered that Jesus could have been right about him, he could have asked Jesus to help him not to fall into sin. If he had prayed instead of sleeping, he could have been strengthened by Almighty God to overcome the temptation. If he had kept his eyes on Jesus instead of himself, he could have had faith to stand up for Him. And that is so often what causes us to fail in our lives. When we neglect time with the Lord or fail to heed His warnings, we are drained of any power. When we don’t pay attention to Him, we can end up doing that one thing we promised never to do. But when our focus is steadily upon Him and our trust is in Him, we will be empowered to keep those promises.