But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
In this moment with the Lord each of the disciples saw themselves as brave, capable, willing to endure whatever sacrifice for the sake of their beloved friend, Jesus. They were sincere. They were committed. Nothing could make them turn away from Him – at least in this bright moment that is how they saw themselves – but night was coming.
Soon each would abandon Him. In the terror of the coming night, with its mobs and arrest, interrogation and intimidation, the true character of each disciple would be tested and shown for what it really was – weak, inept, lacking the courage of will to follow through on the vow they made in the daylight of His presence.
Two thousand years later little has changed. I find that on the mountaintop it is easy to sing and praise and tell Him of my undying devotion but then a little darkness comes – we lose a job, we lose our health, we lose a relationship and suddenly it is also easy to lose all courage to “never disown” Him. Suddenly we begin to doubt, question, some even curse God as unfair, unloving, uninvolved.
The darkness, rather than the light, reveals our faith for what it truly is – genuine and tempered or flakey, fading and impotent. All of us can be bold and brave – even boastful – in the times of daylight but this passage reminds me that it is how I respond in the difficult times, times when God seems distant, even absent, it is those times which reveal the depth of my walk with the Lord.
In the times of daylight I need to be putting down deep roots, learning to live humbly and dependent upon the Lord so that when the inevitable darkness comes my faith will survive because it will be rooted in His omnipotence not in my impotence.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.