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  • Writer's pictureKendall Ellis

Passion Despite Pride

This is a preview for the fourth sermon in the series “Passion: When God’s Love Meets Our Betrayal”  To watch the recording of any of the sermons in this sermon series, visit our website.

“Peter said to Jesus, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’ ”

-Mark 14:26-31

I made a fool of myself this week. 

On the phone with a friend, I mentioned that I never ask Jonathan to feed the baby at night because “He’s just too loud. He doesn’t know how to get out of bed quietly without waking me up. So it’s not worth asking him.”

Lo and behold, when I got up to feed the baby later that night, I tripped on a shoe. That shoe caused me to do that awkward half-stomp-half-run thing to keep myself from falling. And for some added flair, somehow I accidentally slammed the bedroom door on my way out. Not only did I wake Jonathan up, but my oversized dog came galloping down the hall to see what the commotion was while the baby let out a dramatic gasp from her nursery. 

Apparently, I’m worse at getting up quietly than my husband. Whoops.

Of course, you don’t have to be married with a baby to have a similar experience. There’s something hardwired in our brains that makes us think better of ourselves than others. Cue the song, “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you…”

If Peter lived today, he’d definitely be singing that song to the other disciples. But just like me, Peter’s pride is about to catch up with him.

Towards the end of the Passover meal, Jesus is trying to be honest with his besties. Jesus is trying to warn them that he is about to literally give his life for them, and in the process, things will be hard for the disciples. The persecution will be so bad that even Jesus’ closest disciples will leave him. Jesus is trying to be honest with them. He wants to prepare them, as best as he can, for the difficult days ahead.

But Peter had a habit of assuming he was the best disciple. So it should come as no surprise that Peter refuses to listen to Jesus’ warning in Mark 14:26-31. Even when Jesus insists that Peter will deny him–not once–but three times, Peter isn’t having it. Peter confidently declares that he will die before betraying Jesus.

Spoiler alert: Jesus was right. Peter eats his words. He denies he ever knew Jesus to servant girls and strangers (Mk. 14:66-72).

When I read this story, it’s not the denial itself that gets me. The real betrayal happens before that. Peter’s betrayal starts with his pride. Peter’s pride is so intense that he doesn’t even consider listening to Jesus’ multiple warnings. So much for Jesus being Peter’s teacher. Peter’s pride is a betrayal that causes Peter to idolize himself rather than live in obedience to his Lord.

Don’t we do this with God, too? People have told me that they want Bible-based preaching, but have also gotten frustrated when God’s word says something different than we expected. Or I’ve heard many a prayer request asking for God to show someone what to do, only to end with God answering and that person doing the opposite because they thought their plan was better. 

There’s a reason we all know the old idiom: “Pride comes before the fall.” We betray God when we allow our pride to keep us closed off from truly listening and living faithfully. Peter’s pride got the best of him. Our pride will get the best of us, too, unless we allow it to be crucified with Christ this Lenten season.

Reflection Questions

  1. Reflect on the Bible: How do you think Peter is coming across to the other disciples in this text? What about how he’s coming off to Jesus?

  1. Reflect on your life and faith: What is an area of your life that you struggle to give to God? How do you think your pride might be preventing you from fully submitting to God in that area?

  2. Reflect on God's grace: Who is someone who can help you learn humility this week? Confess to them the area of pride you’re struggling with, and pray with them everyday this week that God will grow in you a spirit of humility and trust.


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