Lord, give me the courage to stand with You in all circumstances.
Read MATTHEW 26:69–75
Peter Disowns Jesus
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
New International Version (NIV)
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There was a reason behind the warning of Jesus to Peter in Luke 22:31,32.
Peter has seen Jesus transfigured and has confessed that he is the Son of God, but he does not understand that Jesus must die, let alone why. Neither his heart nor his mind can process the implications of Jesus’ ignominious arrest and trial. Peter’s brash self-confidence has evaporated. At a purely human level, any of us, like Peter, might lie to save our lives, but at a deeper level the significance of this event can be understood only in the light of what has happened by the time Matthew’s Gospel is being read. Peter is not just a person in a story about a confused and disillusioned disciple on the night of Jesus’ arrest. He is by this time someone they have known, a courageous and outspoken preacher, healer, and respected elder (1 Pet. 5:1).
Matthew’s community is already suffering. Peter himself is possibly dead, martyred in the persecutions under Emperor Nero in A.D. 64. In those perilous times, Christians facing threats of incarceration, torture, or even death sometimes denied their faith. In many places today, persecuted Christians also live in fear; in desperation, some may deny their Lord. Who are we in safer communities to brashly assert, as Peter did that night, that we would never be found among them? For all persecuted Christians today, Peter’s story is an encouragement. We may at times fail our Lord, but failure is never the end. Beyond failure lies forgiveness and, for those who face persecution, new opportunities to show courage in the face of danger and, for some, death.
Peter’s vehement denial of Jesus probably placed him in the valley of depression for the next three days. Have you ever spent time there for a personal failing?
Reveal Yourself, O God, to Your people who face injustice, persecution, or death. Guide them and give them words to say, for the sake of Your Son, who suffered for them.