Thursday, April 12, 2007



Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him." But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."

Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 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." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Jesus has just been arrested by temple troops in the Garden of Gethsemane and his disciples have fled for their lives. Peter has just had a traumatic experience attempting to chop a man’s head off, missed and sliced off his ear, only to have Jesus heal the ear completely. It is a real night of terror for Jesus and His disciples in Jerusalem.

The temple troops took Jesus over to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. The high priest was usually selected from among the Sadducees, however the selection process may have been actually performed by Herod at this time. So, he was Herod’s appointment.

Peter went along with the soldiers and tried to blend in with the little crowd of curious people. This in itself is quite courageous. He had followed Jesus for over 3 years and he was sticking with him, even at a distance. He’s got to be scared personally for what might happen to him, too.

Fear overcame him as he was discovered by the servant girl and he quickly denied being one of Jesus’ band of men. Later he was recognized by another person and Peter again blurts out that he is not one of Jesus’ people. Finally, about an hour or so later as it was turning closer to morning Peter was recognized as a Galilean which he quickly turned into the third denial. And, just as he denies Jesus for the third time, the rooster crows and Jesus is able to see Peter, looking straight at him.

Talk about “I told you so!”; this had to be most debilitating to Peter. This is the Peter who claimed he was willing to go to prison or death for Jesus. This is why Peter quietly leaves the compound weeping bitterly. He is overwhelmed with guilt and shame.

Have you ever caught yourself in this kind of situation? Have you ever denied that you are a follower of Jesus either by your words or your actions? The lessons here are many and here are a few:

FIRST—Don’t ever think you are above being a coward when it comes to identifying yourself with Jesus. This is why we must humbly follow after Him and humbly deal with one another.

SECOND—Prayer does matter in preparing our hearts for difficult times. Peter had just left a night of a little praying and a lot of nodding off.

THIRD—Fear and faith can’t coexist easily. It’s too easy to give into our fears. I like the saying, “When fear knocks, I must send faith over to answer the door.”

FOURTH—Jesus is always looking. This use to scare me to death, when I was sure that Jesus was mad at me. Now, I understand that His look, though sometimes disappointed in me, is still filled with unconditional love, concern and forgiveness for me. More than anything else Jesus wants me to “get it” and “get through it.”

ABOVE ALL I think this scene in Peter’s life is indicative of our own lives as we move in and out of highly stressful and fearful moments. The most devastating thing of all is the look on Jesus’ face when I screw up. When my parents gave me that disappointed look, that was worse than any spanking or grounding ever. I never wanted to disappoint them. And when I did, that’s what hurt me the most. It’s the same way with our relationship with Jesus. We don’t want to disappoint Him, but we do. But OH THAT LOOK ON HIS FACE.

I am comforted by a passage in II Timothy that says, “And when we are faithless and deny Him, He remains faithful.” Now that’s why Jesus is worthy of our faith and trust and worship. HE REMAINS FAITHFUL!