”Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22.54-62
What if your greatest moment of weakness was on display for all eternity for all to see? What if what you did, for which you are ashamed, was plastered on billboards all across the nation? It would be incredibly embarrassing and shameful. This is what I think about each time I read Peters denial of the Christ in the Gospels. It’s here for everyone to read for all time.
Even when Peter was suppose to be standing tall, and just hours before he was with Jesus in the Upper Room pledging his allegiance, now he’s weeping bitterly because of denial. Three times the people in the courtyard said to or about Peter, “This man was with him,” “You also are one of them,” and “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” And each time Peter would reply in the negative, “I am not,” “I do not know the man.”
The good news is that this story isn’t just about Peter and his failures. It’s so popular for two reasons, 1) Peter later repented and was forgiven by Jesus, and 2) We have all fallen short jus like Peter. What we see in Peter, we see in ourselves. How we fall short of in our own lives reminds us that we too are human. But the best news is this story is much less about us, our difficulties, our sins, and more about Jesus who overcame sin and death by dying upon the cross and then rising again from the grave. The focus can tend to fall upon us but really, Jesus takes center stage.
Peter was a good man, a worthy leader, a stout follower. He intended to stay true to Jesus and his purpose and mission. But plans go out the window when chaos reigns. When Jesus was arrested and Peter saw his own life threatened, he panicked. He retreated into the safety of his lies and remembering the words spoken to him by Jesus, “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times,” he went outside and wept bitterly.
Jesus knows our mistakes and our failures. He forgives a heart full of repentance. He redeems a lost soul and rekindles the flame of faith within each of us once again. This is the struggle in life — to obey God while denying the flesh, the sin, the darkness that seems only a mistake away.
Peter certainly failed the Christ that early morning so many years ago, but Christ has overcome our failures. Each of us has turned away, but through the power of his Spirit, his blood, his sacrifice, we can walk in newness of life. Even though Peter feel flat on his face, Jesus makes a way for us to discover faith again.
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus forgives. Have you received this in your own heart? Have you said yes to the Savior, accepted his love, embraced the Loving Lord who is at this very moment embracing you?
”Come Lord Jesus, I praise you. You are good and true. Thank you for loving me, for allowing me to walk in newness of life. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your faith, help me remain in holiness, sanctify me by your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen