Did you know the history books have it wrong? Peter was actually the first to summit Mt. Everest, and he reveled in the pinnacle. He declared from his place on its peak, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be. (Mark 14:29)” And Christ had declared that instead of being Simon Peter, he was now Peter, the rock (Matthew 16:16-19).
He was prepared to forgive his friend seven times (Mt. 18:21). He was not the one dipping with Christ in the dish, the one who would betray Christ. He had his feet washed, and begged Christ to wash his hands and his head as well (John 13:9).
The pinnacle of
is where I plant myself much of the time. “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” I have forgiven those who have wounded me the most. I have not turned my back on Christ and family like others have. I even serve others with joy after the example of Christ. I have standards, and conservative ones, and I am more devout than many of the lukewarm Christians in Mt. Everest . America
I’m with Peter saying, “Christ, I will lay down my life for You.”
Yet Christ says, “I will lay down my life for you.”
And Peter, recall, rebuked Christ for speaking thus of His death.
“But when [Jesus] had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’(Mark 8:33)”
Little did Peter know that were it not for the crucifixion he so fiercely opposed, he would have been perpetually in the downward fall that he decried. Little do I realize that by planting myself on the mountain-top of spirituality, I plant myself on a
Tower of Babel of my own creation, far above the need for the anguish of the Mount of Olives or the brutality of . Mount Calvary
The man who grudgingly gave forgiveness to a friend seven times for comparatively petty faults would need forgiveness from Christ for denying his best friend. Three times. The man who betrayed his concern that he might be the one who would betray Christ denied that he might be the one who would deny Christ. The man who insisted that his whole body be washed by Christ would shortly be baptized in gut-wrenching tears, but would also soon be washed in the blood of Christ.
But he did not know this yet. He was still on the top of the mountain, and he still said there was no need for a Friday of sorrow and death. “But [Peter] spoke more vehemently, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all said likewise. (Mark 14:31)”
Yet Peter, the one who was sold out for Christ, who loved Him more than life itself, denied Him.
“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62)”
Simon didn’t blink, but Peter sobbed. He was no longer on
Mt. Everest, but on Mt. Calvary, and when he slipped into the cold, vacant tomb a few days later, with the golden morning sunshine beaming through the place where the stone had been, a new light began to dawn in his red-rimmed eyes. He now knew why: Jesus had done it all for him.
And I, standing in the same place as Peter, so far removed from
, know why as well. Mt. Everest
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.