Great Victories Are Accomplished Through Surrender
Why did Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples, deny knowing him? I read this story again this week (see Mark 14), and it disappoints me every time.
Peter, the de facto leader of Jesus’ twelve disciples, sacrificed much for that position. He left family, friends, home and business to follow Jesus. He prepared to give up his life as well.
Peter committed to die for Jesus. He said as much while they ate their last meal together. He packed a sword, preparing for a fight. Despite the garden’s overwhelming odds, Peter nearly killed a man.
But Jesus intervened. He went there to surrender. Nothing would stop this course of events from unfolding.
And Peter, who one minute before put himself in life-threatening danger, faced a choice. Surrender to death or run. He ran. Hours later, he failed Jesus in the most spectacular way by denying he knew him.
So, what can we make of this? How does a bold man willing to die become so fearful of dying moments later?
I sum it up this way; it is easier to fight to the death than surrender to death. Giving up our lives fighting is easier than handing over our lives in faith. Death is the outcome in both cases, but what different deaths they are.
When we fight to the death, we need faith, but let’s be honest. We feel a measure of control, even if only in our own minds. But when we surrender to death? When we surrender to death, all we have is faith that if I do nothing, God will act on my behalf. If the worst should happen, God is working for my good.
One day, Jesus will return as a conquering king. He will set up his kingdom, and we will reign with him. Until then, his earthly life is our model. His greatest achievement wasn’t accomplished by fighting to his death but by humbly surrendering to death.