We have all had that point of no return decision to either speak up for what is right, to mumble some excuse, deny knowing anything about it, or to just be quiet and walk away. What would we do if our life was threatened and in danger of being taken into custody and deemed a criminal for knowing Jesus? Would our love and passion trump our fear? Peter is torn between his love for Jesus and fear of being jailed for knowing Him.
Peter’s love and passion brought him to the courtyard so he could see and hear what was happening to Jesus who has been taken away from him. But Peter’s fear drove him to deny he ever knew Jesus, His beloved Friend, who would soon be His Savior.
Jesus told Peter what would happen, but Peter forgot—until the rooster crowed.
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.
“I DON’T KNOW HIM!”
Jesus told Peter it would happen. Peter remembered what Jesus had said the second the rooster crowed. All Peter could do was weep in regret. Peter used the excuse of denial to be closer to Jesus but he would soon learn from the look in Jesus’ eyes that Peter’s disobedience of being there in the first place led to his denial of ever knowing Jesus. Ah, this is a plot twist, right?
Jesus told his disciples what He came to earth to do. He was sent by God, His Father, to seek and to save lost people. It was foretold in the Scriptures they grew up reading at the Synagogue. One day, in the midst of ministry and mission, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do say I am?” It was Peter who had the right answer, “You are Messiah, Son of the living God”.
Remember, it was Peter that Jesus said He would give the “keys to the Kingdom” to as he worked with passionate Peter’s flaws and missteps to build the church Jesus would begin in Peter. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16
Did Peter remember this moment of confirmation and calling and wonder if he had just blown it all? Did he cry with regret for his disobedience of being there in the first place and then disowning Him on top of it all, wondering if what Jesus put in him would be lost forever?
Peter repented. Later, after Jesus rose again and walked among His beloved once more to prove His power over death, Jesus forgave Peter. Peter was restored to Jesus, he was renewed to live out his purpose to “go and make disciples” and to build the church Jesus built first in Peter, a church that no one can destroy.
If it were not for Peter’s humbled repentance to Jesus and his restoration through Jesus’ forgiveness, the story of the church might have been different. But Jesus knew it would be Peter. Peter’s quick mind got him into trouble when he was younger, but as he grew in his love and passion for Jesus, his wisdom and obedience trumped all fear and he became an apostle and spokesperson of the beginnings of the church Jesus ordained him to build. Just as Jesus said.
Jesus knows our weaknesses. Jesus knows our love for Him. We all mess up from time to time. Are we ruined forever? Not according to the story of Peter! I have made big mistakes in my life but the love and forgiveness of Jesus set me back on the road to His will and purpose for me. He will do the same for you. He always has and always will love and forgive us.
You might be thinking, what about Judas? Judas was sorry he got caught but not repentant for what he did. Taking his own life was just another form of trying to control life on his terms. That is the difference.
Abby Father, Lord of all,
We learn so much from Peter’s life and you knew we would. You are God and we are not. Thank you for forgiveness of all our sins. Thank you for renewal and restoration of who you created and meant for us to be! Thank you for your purpose for living that has meaning and significance for your Kingdom! Thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for making me whole again. Continue to transform me. Help us to help others find and follow you by loving them like you love us.
In Jesus Name, Amen