In Matthew 26 Jesus lays out a series of predictions regarding the failure and desertion of his disciples. He predicts Judas will betray him (26:21), that the disciples will desert him (26:31) and that Peter in particular will disown him three times (26:34). In the same chapter they go on from there to the garden of Gethsemane where his inner circle can’t see fit to stay up and lend their support to Jesus (26:36ff). Starting in verse 47 everything begins to happen just as Jesus said it would. Judas betrays, disciples flee and a few dozen verses later Peter disowns him.
What is remarkable to me about all of this is that they all fell short. Not one of them did what they said they would do. They all shirked their responsibilities and showed the extent of their loyalty (or lack there of) when the rubber met the road. We can learn a lot about how what we do with sin and falling short when we look at what happened next. Judas didn’t seek reconciliation. He took his life instead. The eleven were all able to return to Jesus and benefit from his grace and mercy because they had a desire to be close to Jesus.
We all sin. We all do some things we shouldn’t. Maybe we aren’t kissing Jesus in a garden to hand him over to angry soldiers. But maybe in our own subtle ways we push him to the fringes of our life. Maybe we don’t sit by a fire and flat out say we don’t know him but maybe our lives and words don’t really say that we do know him either. What is so hopeful to me in these verses is that those who want to be reconciled can find it. Those who do not seek it out are left to work it out on their own (and fail).
Maybe you have struggled with a particular sin for a long period of time and wonder if God could find it in him to forgive you even one more time. The answer we find in Matthew 26-28 shows us that those who desire to be close to Jesus own up to their mistakes, repent of them, and seek to do better. We can’t let our pride get in the way. We can’t get hung up on having to admit we are wrong or say we are sorry. Instead, we have to do as Peter did and run to Jesus. I wonder how easy that was for Peter to do? The last time he saw Jesus he was disowning him…I bet that took some pride swallowing to run to the tomb when he heard he had risen from the dead! What do you let get in the way of finding reconciliation with Jesus Christ?