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March 22:  Peter’s Denial

Today’s devotional is from Gene Schwarm.  Gene shares the most thought of understanding of Peter and his denial.  You could argue for Peter and share that it was a scary time and Peter needed some self-preservation to carry on the ministry of Jesus.  Either way, gets you to the end of Gene’s devotional.  It is about repentance and forgiveness.



Scripture:  Mark 14:66-72


Peter’s Denial

Peter is probably the most famous and most mentioned disciple in the Gospels.  He and his brother Andrew were the first to be asked by Jesus to be disciples.  When Jesus asked him to “Come follow me” he was a fisherman named Simon who lived along the Sea of Galilee.  He dropped his fishing nets and followed Jesus (Mark 1:16-18). 

 

In addition to spontaneity and impulsiveness, as he exhibited in responding to Jesus’ call, there are other words to describe Peter.  Some are complimentary and some not so much, such as: leader, loyal, impetuous, brash, passionate, emotional, intuitive, faithful.  Today he would be known as an alpha personality- quick to speak up, quick to act, takes the lead, driven.

 

Peter’s high point as a disciple came when he correctly answered Jesus’ question “who do you say I am” by responding “you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus then gave him the name Peter (which means rock) and declared “upon this rock I will build my church” (Mathew 16:17-18).  Peter was as solid as a rock in his faith.  He was one of the three disciples in the inner circle with Jesus.

 

Peter’s low point as a disciple is described in today’s scripture when he three times denied knowing Jesus after Jesus was arrested.  Jesus predicted the denial and told Peter that he was going to do it.  Peter emphatically said, “I will never deny you.”  After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to the palace (home) of the high priest, Caiaphas, for his first hearing.  Peter was concerned enough to follow behind but kept his distance.  He sat outside in the palace courtyard where he could hear what was going on.  He heard how badly it was going for Jesus as the crowd yelled “guilty” and “he deserves to die.”  One of the servant girls of the high priest in the courtyard asked Peter if he was one of the men with Jesus.  He denied it to her and denied it two more times when confronted by others in the courtyard.

 

In March 2018 while visiting the Holy Land we went to Caiaphas’ palace and courtyard in Jerusalem.  I took the photo above of the life size statues of Peter, the servant girls and palace guard which is in courtyard of the high priest Caiaphas.  The statue of Peter has his hands raised and an innocent, unknowing look on his face as you can hear him saying to her “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and “I don’t know this man, I swear it”.  Viewing the palace of Caiaphas and walking through this courtyard, where Jesus had walked and where Peter had denied him, was an impactful, moving experience.

 

Peter heard the crowd calling for Jesus to be put to death.  No doubt he was concerned for his personal safety.  He was probably thinking I’m his number one disciple, I could be the next one arrested as a co-conspirator, I can’t be associated with him, I need to look out for myself.  Peter’s self-centeredness, his selfishness affected his relationship with Jesus.  Has your self-centeredness, selfishness affected your relationship with Jesus?  I know mine has.

 

That night, after the rooster crowed a second time, Peter realized his great betrayal and that Jesus’ prediction had come true.  Peter broke down and wept.  He realized his sin, repented of it, and had the opportunity to restore his relationship with Jesus.  The Gospel of John records that Peter was able to meet again with the resurrected Jesus and personally express his love for Jesus. Jesus gave Peter a challenge in his final conversation- “follow me” and “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-19).  Peter met the challenge given to him by Jesus and became a great evangelist and leader of the church until his martyr death and reuniting with Jesus.

 

I have said things and done things that I have deeply regretted.  After the fact, I can’t believe what I did or said.  I carry the guilt of those bad acts and harsh words with me.  I (we) must remember Peter, his great transgression and how he was restored with Jesus.   Repent and we too are forgiven, given freedom of guilt and reunited with Jesus.

 

QUESTIONS:

1.     Has my self-centered ways affected my relationship with Jesus? Yet today? Yesterday?

2.     What do I need to do to put Jesus at the center of my life?

 

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, we fall short in so many ways.  You are a loving, gracious and patient God.  Please forgive us for being self-centered and for our selfish ways.  Teach and propel us to center our lives on you so that we may fully serve you and be more like Jesus.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.  


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1 Comment


charlenemjett
Mar 22

Beautiful, thank you very much.

The instinct for survival clashes head on with Jesus' will of sacrifice. God help us all!

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