Today's Reading: Mark 14:1-15:47
"But [Peter] said with great emphasis, 'Even if it is necessary for me to die with you, I will never deny you.' And they all said likewise." (Mark 14:31)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I've made that promise. I won't let you down this time, Jesus. I won't deny you. I won't back down from your Gospel. I won't do that again. Jesus. I love you enough to stop.
Then, I sin again and again. I fall. I feel so guilty and so unworthy. I crawl back to forgiveness promising that this won't ever happen again. "I can stop. I'm not despising your grace. Really, I'm not. I'm not just asking you to forgive me so that I can sin again. Am I? That's not me! Is it?"
St. Peter made that promise with all the faithfulness of a child of God who had just received the Lord's Supper. He was Bodied. He was Blooded. He was forgiven. He was steadfast and immovable. They all were--promising to be in this with Jesus until the end.
Jesus didn't need their promises. He knew they would all fall away. He knew Peter would betray Him. Peter denied that he would deny Him. "The others might throw You under the bus, but not me. I would die for you."
You know how this ended. Before the rooster crowed twice, the Lord was denied three times. Shame. Guilt. Like every failed promise that I have made--that you have made--to God.
There's only One Man dying for anyone in Holy Week in the Scriptures and that's Jesus. He is headed for the Cross to die for Peter. He's going to die for me and you, too. "For we all like sheep have gone astray and each of us have run our own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
I don't have to tell you to give up your sins. I don't need to tell you to not be like Peter. You know you should. And you can't. You know you are powerless on your own. You already know the shame when the Lord looks at you in your sin. You've already wept bitterly.
Believe that in the suffering and death of Jesus your salvation has been won. Trust that in His resurrection you are holy before God. In your Baptism, receive salvation from the guilt of your evil. Take, eat, His body and take, drink, His blood and live forever free from your sins. Be absolved by the words of your Savior. Only in the Gospel will you find the mercy and goodness of God to be faithful to Jesus and the grace when you aren't. Today you are free from your sins. Live today faithfully forgiven. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.