And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
Understanding And Applying the Text
Christ finished the Passover meal with His disciples. They sang a hymn and departed to the Mount of Olives. Once they arrived Jesus delivered more bad news. He had already told them that one of them was going to betray Him. Now he tells them they will all abandon Him. The fact one of them would betray Jesus was hard to believe. But that they all would abandon Christ went too far. Jesus had been right about everything else but this was not believable. Each of them thought and said they would not abandon Christ. And they meant it. There was no deceit in them. They believed they would stay with their Lord no matter what happened.
But Christ’s words provide us great comfort. Christ told the disciples, they would leave Him. Yet He does not abandon them. God does not stop recognizing His sheep when they scatter. He gathers them up. He does not leave them to the wolves. God’s grace is victorious.
Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7 to ease His disciples’ anxiety. Yes, they would disperse, But their alarm need not be too great, He wanted them aware of their weakness. They needed their Shepherd. They did not understand their own weakness. They saw themselves standing firm. They, in their own power, could withstand whatever came their way. But God stretches out His hand and reclaims His scattered sheep.
Peter spoke up. He did not speak hypocritically. He spoke what he believed was true. But believing it did not make true. Peter shows us how intoxicating the belief in our own abilities is. Jesus admonishes him for his rashness.
Do not think Peter alone had this fault. We all fall into the same trap. Matthew tells all the disciples had the same fault. They all agreed they would not fall away.