This tragic passage follows on the heels of Judas' betrayal of Jesus and Peter's haughty remark that even if everyone else forsook the Lord, he would not. Yet, as Jesus was led away to the high priest to be judged, Peter couldn't even seem to make it to Jesus' side. Yes, he followed, but he followed afar off and when the mob stood still, Peter halted at the door. The Bible says he stood without until John (often referred to as "the other disciple" or "the disciple whom Jesus loved") came and got him.
In a matter of hours, Peter went from forceful to fearful. One minute he's slicing off the ear of a soldier, the next, he's cowering in the corner, hoping that no one will associate him with the man on trial. Just a few hours before, Peter was certain he was willing to follow the Lord all the way, no matter what. But dark reality has a way of setting straight our disillusionment and grandiose ideas. The cold, hard fact was that Peter was willing to follow Jesus as long as it didn't cost him anything. He was committed to Christ. . .sort of. Sound familiar?
Ah, yes! On the sunny mountaintop, we, like Peter, proudly proclaim, "Yes, Lord. I'll follow you anywhere. I'll do whatever you ask of me. Just name it. There's nothing too great. I am fully committed to you." But when dark reality sets in, we begin to whistle a different tune, and like Peter, we find ourselves slipping further and further behind, hiding in dark corners and hoping no one recognizes us. After all, it's hard to acknowledge that we're Christians when we're cowering in fear or living in sin. So, we play it safe. We hang back just a little farther, grudgingly acknowledging that perhaps we're not as committed as we once thought. After all, there's no such thing as "kinda committed." The term "committed" means "wholehearted devotion." Wholehearted, not wishy washy. Commitment has no room for fair-weather friends.
And one day, if you haven't already experienced it, we'll discover the comforting, yet convicting, lesson that Peter encountered that horrible night--no matter how far back you are, God still sees. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62)
It was a hard lesson for Peter to swallow, but I believe he did. I am of the mindset that this single look from the Lord changed Peter. After that, the pride seemed to melt away, and Peter appeared to take more thought before he acted and/or spoke. Not only that, but I believe that after this night, Peter determined that "the next time" he would go all the way, no matter the cost. And here's why I believe that:
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. - John 20:1-8
Do you see the role reversal? This time John stopped short at the entrance of the tomb, but Peter ran all the way in. He didn't hold back. He didn't stop short. He didn't worry about what it might cost him to see things through. He just went. . .all the way. Committed.
What about you? Are you serving God with wholehearted devotion today, or is there something preventing you from fully committing to Him? In the words of the popular Frozen character, Elsa, "Let it go! Let it go! Can't hold it back anymore!"