Today's verses are Mark 14:29,30: "Peter said to him, 'Even though they all fall away, I will not.' And Jesus said to him, 'Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.'" Jesus had just predicted that the shepherd will be struck and the sheep will be scattered, then he will be raised up. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah 13:7. Jesus is the good shepherd. His disciples are his flock. He will be killed. They will run away and be scattered.
Peter is the spokesman of the group. He is also very impulsive. Upon hearing this prediction, he is incredulous. He states that it will never be with him! All the other disciples may fall away, but he never will.
In response, Jesus said that before the rooster crows twice, he will deny Jesus three times. Each morning, roosters would crow several times throughout Jerusalem. Each crow would be separated by several minutes. Jesus said after the first two individual, separate crows heard throughout the city, Peter will have denied him three times. He will have denied that he even knew Jesus three times.
Words are cheap. Actions mean everything. Peter grossly underestimated the test of faith he was about to face.
Someone once said, "People are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water." Such was true with Peter. He vociferously objected to Jesus' claim that he would desert him. Yet when in the situation, when he was dropped into the hot water, we see just how strong his faith is. We see his false bravado didn't match inward reality. His heart of faith wasn't as strong as he claimed.
That's why Jesus allows tests of faith to come to our lives. They are not meant to destroy us. They are meant to show us how strong our faith really is. It's easy to mouth words of faith. It's easy to say we believe Jesus is Lord of the world. It's easy to say we believe that he controls everything in our lives and that he is working it all together for good. Yet it's only when the words are tested in the fires of trials do we see what's actually in our hearts.
Perhaps today you are in a test of faith. Perhaps your circumstances are trying and you're wondering what God is doing. You may even feel ready to throw your faith away. If so, don't give up. Cling to him. Cling to your faith. Refuse to give in to despair.
Though Jesus said Peter would deny him, he also said the he would go before all of them, after his resurrection, and meet them in Galilee. In one of his resurrection appearances, he actually told his listeners particularly to remind Peter of this promise (Mark 16:7). When he did meet them in Galilee, he restored Peter to ministry and purpose (see John 21). In this chapter, for each denial Jesus reminded Peter how much he loved him. He reminded him of his purpose still ahead of him.
The test of faith is designed to make your faith stronger. After you've been through it, you're more than equipped to move forward in faithfulness to Jesus. You're also more than equipped to handle most anything else that this broken, fallen world may hurl your way.
Are you going through a test of faith? Don't give up. It won't last forever. And Jesus will use it for your good and God's glory.
That's his promise.