Week 4, Day 24
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.
Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”
And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Well, that didn’t take long. Today’s passage from Luke draws a stark contrast between Peter’s denial of Christ under slight circumstances and Jesus’ faithful confession under extreme pressure. Jesus confessed that he is the Son of God before Pilot and the Jewish leadership, under incredible pressure and duress, but Peter failed in his modest charge of admitting that he knew Jesus before a servant girl. When you remember Peter’s earlier profession, “You are the Christ of God” (chapter 9) compared to “I do not know him,” it is pretty amazing how the same words came out of the same mouth within the space of a few months.
Some people might ask if a true believer could ever do what Peter did? But it’s easy to say we would have done any different. Peter realized his own sin nature from the first moment he met Jesus, when he fell at his feet and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). Later, when the other disciples turned away because of Jesus’ hard teaching, Peter stayed and declared, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”
The reality was that despite Peter’ great love and faith in Jesus, he was still, ultimately, human. The lesson for us today is to take a long look at ourselves, and ask the question, “Where do I deny my savior?” Peter’s failing was not what defined him, rather it was his faithful return to Jesus, using his love for Christ, and the power of the Spirit, to make him the “rock” that Jesus would later form his church upon – that is who Peter is! So don’t only look for the ways that you have denied Christ in your life, but look harder for the ways that the Spirit flows through you, that is who you are!
Where have you denied knowing Jesus in your past, present, or future? What will it take for you to boldly acknowledge and proclaim your savior?
Dear God, thank you for the example of love and faithful confession in your Son! Even though it is easy to resonate with Peter and his frail humanity, help us to be more like Jesus. Give us the power of the Spirit to proclaim you with a boldness rarely seen or heard. Forgive us when we shy from confrontation, and help us stand faithfully for you. Amen