Bible Reference: Mark 14:27-31; Galatians 6:14

In recent years, we have seen a resurgence in the nationwide interest in the story of the famous ship, the Titanic. It was the unsinkable ship.

There was so much confidence in the ship being unsinkable that not nearly enough life boats were brought along for its maiden voyage. Yet, the only thing the Titanic ever did was sink. It serves as a gripping illustration of the extreme danger of overconfidence.

BABYLONIAN WALLS

I think of the fall of the Babylonian empire in Daniel chapter 5. The capital city of Babylon was the world’s mightiest fortress. With walls 80 feet thick and 350 feet high, with 100 massive bronze gates in them, the city seemed impregnable. But it came to a shocking downfall in the year 539 B.C. But how?

The king of Medo-Persia knew that there was no way to take the city by normal means of warfare because it was far too strong. There were no instruments of weaponry that could even begin to make a dent in the massive walls and to try to scale the walls was committing suicide. So the general of the Medo-Persian army came up with a unique strategy. The army diverted the water of the Euphrates by building a dam. Slowly, the water dropped to waist level and the Medo-Persian army marched underneath the massive walls into the city. The city was totally taken by surprise! The first troops went immediately to the royal palace to get Belshazzar and they killed him on the spot. It was another powerful example of the devastating effects of over confidence.

THE APOSTLE PETER

Those are the kinds of stories that make the front pages of newspapers. But other examples of the devastating effects of over confidence are no less catastrophic. Specifically, what I am referring to is the crushing defeats experienced by the people of God who suffer those damaging defeats, in large measure, because of overconfidence.

Maybe the most well-known example of this is the Apostle Peter. On the night before Jesus died, He told the disciples that all of them would forsake Him during His arrest and trials.

And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 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.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same. -Mark 14:27-31

Peter boasted by saying that, even though the others might forsake the Lord, he would willingly give his life to stand up for the Lord. But, as you know, Peter repeatedly denied his Lord on that very night.

WARNING AGAINST SELF-CONFIDENCE

Peter did love the Lord and he was genuinely committed to the Lord, so he just couldn’t see how he would end up deserting the Lord. But his major mistake was self-confidence. There was no humility in his response when Jesus told him he would end up denying Him. He didn’t say, “Lord, I would never want to forsake you. By God’s grace, I hope and pray that I would never do that.”

Instead, Peter went on and on, vehemently stating, in the strongest way possible, that he would never deny the Lord. Peter was self-confident and he failed miserably. That’s the warning that screams to us from Mark 14:27-31.

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. -Galatians 6:14 ESV

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Bryan Hughes

Bryan is the Senior Pastor at Grace Bible Church in Bozeman, MT.  He has been an MWSB visiting faculty member for over 15 years. You can listen to his sermons here.
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