Falling Off

On the edge. Trolltunga, Norway.

One of the most memorable games from The Price Is Right is the Yodeler game.  In this game, a mountain climber (a marionette on a stick) scales up a numbered mountain.  If he goes higher than the top step, he falls of the mountain.

The contestant has to guess the price of items.  For each dollar the contestant’s off, the mountain climber goes up a notch.  As he climbs, yodeling music plays in the background, so it’s not good to hear the yodeling music.

If the mountain climber falls off, the game is over.  The yodeling music abruptly ends and in its place is crashing sound effects.

Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m going to be so off in my walk with God that I’m going to fall off the edge of my salvation.  I’m going to be off the price of redemption by one too many sins, and I’m going to plunge off the mountain of grace . . . and smash on the rocks of judgment below.

Around 2,000 years ago, a man named Peter was about to go off the edge of everything he thought would save him: his integrity, his zeal, his bravery, his candidness, his upbringing, his achievements, and, most of all, his love.

He was about to become a person of no integrity, weary, cowardly, duplicitous.  He was about to shame his upbringing, wad up his list of achievements, and, most of all, he was about to reveal that his love could turn to hate when it mattered most.

Peter was a follower of Jesus, and Jesus knew what Peter was going to do.  During Jesus’ agonizing mock trial, Peter would spend his time trying to disguise himself.  Every time he was asked if he was a follower of Jesus, Peter would deny it.  And Peter would run away and cry bitterly while Jesus was tortured and crucified.

Peter was going to fall off the edge.  He was going to commit one sin too many.  He was going to cost far too great a price.

Hours before Peter’s horrible betrayal, Jesus said something that didn’t mean much to Peter at the time other than to upset him, but would mean everything to him before the next day’s dawn broke.

Jesus said, “Simon, listen to me!  Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks.  But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong.  And when you have come back to Me, help the others.”  Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to jail and even to die with you.”

Jesus replied, “Peter, I tell you that before a rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

A lot of times it seems like we focus on the denial, but there is so much more to what Jesus said.

Jesus’ brilliance is beyond the brilliance of all humanity combined.  In this short dialogue He

  • Warns His followers they’re going to be tested.
  • Reveals Himself as a mediator between God the Father and His followers.
  • Foretells to His closest followers that Peter will fail.
  • Implies to His closest followers that they, far less confident and courageous than Peter, will fail, too.
  • Foretells to His closest followers that Peter will come back to Him.
  • Implies to His closest followers that He expects them to take Peter back.
  • Gives Peter a reason not to commit suicide after he betrays Him.
  • Gives Peter a purpose once he has come back to Him.

Peter was going to go off the edge, but Jesus wasn’t going to let him fall.

“And when you have come back to Me . . .” (Luke 22:32b, CEV)

Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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