It had been a great week. On Sunday, Jesus had entered a crowded Jerusalem to the cries of Hosanna and the waving of palm leaves. Hosanna is a cry for freedom. The palm leaf was the equivalency of waving a national flag. In modern day terms, this was what was happening. The inhabitants of a conquered territory were suddenly rising up, waving their national emblem (not Rome's) and declaring that the emperor in Rome was not their king, their Lord (ceasar), rather this man, Jesus, was. The people of Jerusalem were crying out for Jesus to save them.
How proud the disciples must have felt on that day as they walked beside Jesus. Can you imagine the dreams they must have been having? The man whom they had followed for three and a half years, the man whom they had given up everything for was finally be recognized for who He was... or so they thought. Less than a week later, all of those hopes and dreams were shattered.
On the evening of the arrest of Jesus, the disciples had shared the passover meal with Him in an upper room. Jesus once again tries to prepare them for what is to come, but they do not listen. What he is saying makes no sense to them for it does not fit "the plan".
Peter boldly declares that he will never deny Jesus. What pain Jesus must have felt as he told Peter that not only would he deny him; he would deny Jesus three times before morning. Peter didn't believe it... until it happened.
We all know that talk is cheap. It is easy to say you will never do something when you are not confronted with opposition. Anyone can do that. It is even easier if everyone or even the majority of the people you are surrounded by agree with you. With the triumphal entry fresh in his mind and surrounded by his friends, Peter had no trouble insisting that he would never deny Jesus.
We all know the story. After the arrest of Jesus, Peter did indeed deny Jesus three times that evening, just like Jesus had said he would do. The man who had vehemently declared that he would never deny Jesus, did exactly that. He hadn't intended to do so, but he did.
When we walk in our own strength, we will fall as well. We are just not strong enough, in ourselves, to withstand the enemy... not for a single second. If you think you can, think again.
We must not be foolish enough to try to stand in our own strength. We must stand in the strength of the Lord... or we will fall.
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (MSG)