John 13:36-38, Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; Luke 22:33-34 (Jesus predicts Peter’s denial)
John 13:21-30 (One will betray me)
John 13:37b-38 ESV
Luke 22:51 ESV
John 18:15-18 and 18:25-27 ESV
I think it would have been very difficult for Peter when Jesus told him that he would deny Him three times.
Peter didn’t want to believe he would deny knowing Jesus.
But, news of the denial was definitely real and it was included in all four Gospels.
I mean, it was true. In each of the Gospels, Peter promises he will stick with Jesus through thick and thin just before Jesus tells him he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows. In other words, before dawn Peter will drastically change.
While it’s difficult for us (and Peter) to imagine that he would change that much in a few hours time, he did. What Peter didn’t know is that something was about to happen that would change his life forever.
Peter would never be the same again.
What’s more, Jesus was about to embark on a journey that would change everything on earth and in heaven.
Even today, it’s a lot for us to understand how the Cross changed everything.
When Jesus initially predicted that Peter would deny Him, the disciples were in the upper room with Jesus. As the story goes, in the upper room in John 13:21-30 Jesus announced to the disciples that one of them would betray him. When they asked who it was, Jesus gave them the answer, but they didn’t get it. It’s like they just didn’t want to believe it was true.
Jesus then told the disciples he was going away but they couldn’t go with Him.
Simon Peter, (Mr. Bold himself) then asks Jesus where he’s going.
Jesus says Peter can’t follow Him.
So Peter pipes up (in true Peter fashion) and says, “I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times (John 13:37b-38).
That seems unbelievable.
But we notice as John 13 closes out, nobody says anything about Peter’s comment of extreme loyalty and Jesus’ predictive statement that Peter will deny Him three times.
When John 14 opens up the conversation completely shifts and Jesus starts talking about there being many rooms in God’s house. He says He’s going there to prepare a place for them.
When I think about that, I’m still stuck back in John 13. I’m wondering what Peter thought about that. How did he process what Jesus just told him?
Was Peter trying to figure out what Jesus was talking about, or was he trying to convince himself that he would NOT deny Jesus?
Isn’t that human nature to try to figure out why Jesus just said that?
At any rate, we do find out later what Jesus meant by Peter’s denial. By the time the denial happens a lot HAS transpired.
The disciples left the upper room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then Judas showed up with soldiers and other Jewish officials. Peter tried to take action. he grabs his sword and slices off one of the servants ear. We know from Luke 22:51 that Jesus “touched the man’s ear and healed him.”
Jesus is arrested and taken away.
Fast forward to John 18:15-18, “Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.”
Note: 1st Denial
Then in John 18:25 we read, “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”
Note: Denial 2
Immediately following in John 18:26-27, “One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”
Note: Denial 3
Peter who promised just hours before that he would lay down his life for Jesus did the very thing he couldn’t imagine he would do just hours before.
Think about how Peter felt in that moment.
He promised. He was so sure he would defend Jesus to the death.
But then in an instant everything changed.
I’m thinking Peter felt like a slimy worm and he slithered away.
He failed and he knew it.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. I’ve not done what Peter did, but I have failed. I’ve messed up. I’ve wanted to slithered away.
But when I stopped long enough to think about Jesus being there for me no matter what, I went back. I turned to God and asked if I can be forgiven. I didn’t feel like I should be forgiven, but I knew I needed Jesus’ forgiveness.
And He gave it.
Every time I asked, Jesus gave forgiveness.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Ask
And receive forgiveness.
In God, Deborah