In Matthew 26, the disciples have had a busy evening. Jesus has shared the Last Supper with them. He has publicly spoken about one who will betray Him. He has also publicly stated that Peter will deny Him three times in front of all the disciples.
Then, Jesus invites Peter, along with James and John, to watch and pray with Him in Gethsemane. Jesus, knowing what is in store for His little flock, invites them to pray lest they enter into temptation. Instead, Peter, James, and John sleep. The Gospel narratives give three barriers that prevented Peter from praying to receive the grace he needed. We talk of the first one today:
In Matthew 26:33, 35, we see two comments from Peter that demonstrates his mindset. In effect, he tells Jesus that though everyone else will be offended (scandalized) because of Him – Jesus can count on Peter! He will be His rock. Further, he lets Jesus know that He must be mistaken – Peter would never deny Christ…He is willing to die for Him!
Do you see it? Peter is self-confident and proud. He doesn’t realize how weak he really is. In a little while, he will be swinging a sword to “protect” Jesus from the soldiers. However, in a few short hours he will cower to the direct questions of a handmaiden.
Before this long night begins, Jesus invited Peter to pray with Him. In doing so, Peter could have received the grace he needed to go through this night. His pride blinded him – he didn’t realize that he needed help…until he had fallen.
Not much has changed. God still invites us to a throne of grace, to find grace to help in time of need. He still gives grace to the humble; He still resists the proud. Man still thinks he is stronger than he really is. As a result, man learns a lot of lessons from experience when we could learn through example.
God invites us to appropriate grace from His throne. Pride will keep us from finding that grace we so desperately need – and often don’t even know it!