Lord, sometimes I come up short. My spirit flags, my trust wanes, my life gets out of focus. Today, center me on you again.
Read John 18:15–27
Peter’s First Denial
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Peter’s Second and Third Denials
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBecome aware of the world of humanity around you in all its beauty and brokenness. See it as the object of God’s love.
Two contrasting reactions. In the face of pressure, Peter, despite his brash assertions (John 13:37), buckles. There is the downward slide we recognize so well. The first act of denial or disobedience so easily leads to others. We identify with Peter, for we too have failed: failed to acknowledge Jesus in moments of pressure; failed to speak of him when opportunities arose.
Today our neighbor moved. We have lived next door to him for nearly 40 years, but we recognized that we had rarely spoken of our faith. If you feel the shame of past failure, don’t despair. Stick around, and John will offer hope.
Jesus, on the other hand, remains calm, controlled, and stands his ground. In response to the high priest’s question about his teaching (v 19), he points out that they should know; all has been done in the open. Throughout his life he has shown authority and integrity, and both are on display here. Jesus’ coming, life, teaching, healing, and now his death and resurrection are marks of God’s love for the world (John 3:16). The paradox is that the world rejected him (John 1:10; 15:18), and that rejection will culminate in his death. But while the world thinks it is about to be rid of Jesus, the truth is very different.
Pray that you will have the strength to be true to Jesus in all circumstances.
Gracious Lord, You’ve given me so much. I offer all that I have to You and Your purposes in the very best way I can.
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