Devotional thoughts on Mark 10:17-31
By Jonathan Underwood
Among the gems of wisdom the Holy Spirit has given us from the pen of the apostle Paul is this: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3). In today’s text, Peter shows us why that’s good advice.
Watch Out for Superlatives
When Jesus said the disciples would all fall away, every one of them was incredulous. But Peter stood out from the rest. He was quick to speak and to declare he was something more than any of the others. He was the best—even if all the others fell away, he would not. And then he was the first to pledge what the others also affirmed: “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
But, of course, he did fall away. That becomes a warning to us. Beware of the superlatives. Beware of saying, “My faith is so strong, I could never . . . ” Jim and Don (not their real names) were brothers, and both were in ministry. One night Don called Jim with a difficult message: “I have resigned my ministry. I have been unfaithful to my wife.” Jim was stunned. He hung up and dropped to the floor and wept. Later he said, “At that moment I realized this can happen to anyone—even me!” We must stay vigilant.
Watch Out for the Unexpected
In the courtyard of the high priest, Peter never expected a servant girl to question him. Women in that culture did not often speak up in public, especially to challenge a man. Had this happened today, she would have pulled out her smartphone, snapped Peter’s picture, and lit up the social media with “Look who’s hanging around the palace!”
We too can be caught off guard. We need to be ready. Jesus ate with sinners, and we need to do the same. But if we are going to go where they are, we need to be ready for questions. If we’re there for the right reason, stand up and be bold. If we’re there for the wrong reason, someone’s going to be there with a smartphone! Be prepared for the unexpected; use it for God’s glory.
Jonathan Underwood is a chaplain at a Christian continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a former editor of the Standard Lesson Commentary. He and his wife, Kathy, also serve missionaries through their Spanish publishing ministry, La Palabra de Cristo.