I really want to be one of those people who plan ahead well and are on top of it. I really do. However, the more I live freely in this skin of mine, the more I realize that planning ahead is not really my strong suite, try as I may.
Lately, I am the queen of underestimation. I feel like I underestime the amount of time it will take us to do the smallest errand. I underestimate how much food to make for dinner when we have company. I make awesome plans and play dates and parties in my head (I promise that in my head, they are calm and ordered events, well-thought through). It’s just that I underestimate the details involved.
I have always considered myself a minimalist, but again, an underestimation revealed through packing to move across the country. Even the fact that we are trekking across the span of the states with 2 children, a dog, and the necessities (clothes, food, a coffee maker, and legos) shows the power of my underestimation.
I set out to study Luke’s gospel last summer. In my mind it would be a few months or so. Another gross underestimation, as I am finally on the last chapter.
What has blown me away in the last chapters of Luke, however, is how much we underestimate our flesh. I have read these chapters many times; however, the human tendency to underestimate the extent and the power of our brokenness, self-reliance, and sin has never grabbed me as much as it has through Peter. In chapter 22, Peter stands out to me as an example of the flesh and tendencies within us all. Peter’s progression from his vow that he would literally die for Jesus’ sake, to a sleepy friend unaware of Jesus’ deep pain, to a coward following along behind Jesus, to an outright denier of Jesus happened in the span of a few hours. I know that same progression can happen quickly in me. A sweet prayer that I would be a servant as a wife and mom, then a short word, than lazy hands and feet, then downright selfishness can happen in span of 10 minutes.
Peter greatly underestimated the depths of his sin and need for Jesus. He had been trained by Jesus Himself, the first of the disciples to proclaim Jesus as Lord, and the one chosen to lead the church. But Jesus knew he still didn’t get it. He really thought he could do it, be good enough, faithful enough, strong enough, loving enough, committed enough.
I love that Jesus loved Peter enough to let him fail and come to the end of himself. After all, three in the Bible represents completeness. Peter had three chances to get it right. He failed to the uttermost, and both he and Jesus knew it immediately after the rooster crowed. Jesus looked him straight in the eyes, as if to say, I heard your vow, I saw you hiding in the crowds afraid, I heard your failure. I knew it all along. I see you. I see your need, your condition; I always have. But you didn’t see it until now.
What a moment that must have been for Peter. He finally got it. Luckily, Jesus was not surprised. He had known since eternity past the power of sin in us, in Peter. He marched through His life with absolute certainity that we were powerless to change apart from HIs sacrifice. He got it. It takes me so long to get it
But I love Jesus and Peter, eye to eye, walking through his failure to the uttermost on the shore after the Resurrection. I love Jesus saying, you needed to see the power of sin within you, your helplessness to the uttermost, so that you could hear the weight of this: “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).”
The more I fail, the less I underestimate the power of sin in me.
Failing to the uttermost, I am saved to the uttermost. What a relief. For me and Peter.