This timely excerpt is taken from Larry Parsley’s devotional, An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark. 

Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” (14:29–30)

If you have read the gospels before, you may have this sense of foreboding as the disciples walk with Jesus from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane. Darkness is quickly falling and hope fading. Jesus reinforces the gloom when he shares the ancient prophecy from Zechariah about a struck shepherd and scattered sheep, predicting the disaster about to befall him and his disciples. Still, Jesus manages to hold out this flickering promise that he will rise and be united with his friends (v. 28).

Peter, predictably, will not hear of it! “Even if all fall away, I will not” (v. 29). Sadly, Jesus predicts that Peter’s resolve will have quickly melted away before the night is over. To describe Peter’s defection, Jesus uses that horrible word “disown,” which Peter will do not once but three times. What emotions fill Jesus’ heart at this moment? Surely deep disappointment and despair, but what else?

My son Jack is in grad school, pursuing a career in higher education. When he was in preschool, he used to promise me that he was going to become a pilot and live next door to me when he grew up. And every day he was going to walk over to my house and say, “Where do you want to fly to today, Dad?” That memory helps me marvel at the wise and tender love in the heart of Jesus, which in that moment can forgive Peter for the failure of his best intentions.

Jesus, forgive us for our failure to live up to our ambitious promises.