Friday, December 7, 2018

Three Denials Before Dawn

"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61a).

As Jesus was led away, Peter followed at a distance. He wanted to be near Jesus, but he was afraid to come too close. While Jesus was kept in the house of the High Priest, Peter sat down with some other people by a fire in the courtyard. Some of these people had been in the crowd that had arrested Jesus. Like any excited group of people in the aftermath of a major event, they are sitting around talking about it.

A servant girl looked carefully at Peter and told the people around the fire that Peter had been with Jesus. Peter immediately denied it. Consider: Jesus had been arrested and stood before the High Priest of Israel. He was to stand before King Herod and Pontius Pilate on trial for His life. Yet He did not falter. Peter, on the other hand, was not arrested. He was not charged with anything wrong. A young girl said that Peter had been with Jesus, not charging him with any wrongdoing, and yet Peter denied his association with Jesus.

Later, another person noticed him and said, “You are one of them.” Peter again denied it. A comparison of the other Gospels indicates there were other people involved in these conversations, but Luke finishes his summary by telling us that about an hour later, another person asserted that because of Peter’s Galilean accent, he was most certainly a follower of Jesus. Peter again denied it, and the other Gospels tell us that he did so swearing an oath.

While he was still speaking, the cock crowed, just as Jesus had predicted. At that moment Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered Jesus’ prediction, and went out and wept bitterly.
At the same time Peter was denying Him, Jesus was being mocked and beaten by the men guarding Him. They blindfolded Him and took turns striking Him, challenging Him to identify them, since He was a prophet.

Which do you think was more painful for Jesus: being beaten by thugs or being disowned by His friend? You and I have never assaulted Jesus, but how often we have denied Him by our words and actions. Ask God to show you how you can stand for Him more faithfully.