Peter’s Next Move

As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked,  “You are not one of His disciples, are you?”

He denied it, saying,  “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him,  “Didn’t I see you with Him in the olive grove?”  Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.  John 18:25-27.

John must have been paying attention to something else or he figured enough had been said about Peter’s denial because he ends the story with the rooster crowing.  Another gospel recounts Peter rushing out and weeping bitterly.

Peter, in my read of this story, must not have seen himself as denying the Master because it was only when the rooster crowed that he recognized what he was doing.  I believe he was playing the secret agent or whatever passed for that character in his era.  Human logic considers lying a must in certain situations, but as I sit here picturing what Jesus said about the subject, I get the feeling that anything other than the truth is considered denying Him.  Look at this text and see if you don’t draw the same conclusion:

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns me before men will be disowned by the angels of God. Luke 12:8, 9.

I wouldn’t doubt that Peter’s reaction after the rooster crowed grew out of his horror of being disowned by Jesus.  His subterfuge might deceive those around him but it wouldn’t stand in the higher court of God.  Now I don’t know Peter’s intentions here, no one does, because we’re not told his thoughts during this incident.  What I know is my own mind and some of those around me, so my conclusion is drawn from the experience of watching people (me included) justify their choices in these kinds of situations.  Peter’s act simply stemmed from our natural self-preservation bone.  Nothing he did would have been abnormal to you or me in a similar circumstance.

The lesson, then, is to acknowledge the Son of Man before men no matter what threats confront us to the contrary.  Peter failed miserably, but that failure God used to demonstrate the Savior’s mission of redemption and restoration.  You and I have denied Jesus in actions, words or thoughts somewhere in our day—if we fail to think or behave like Him, we have denied His authority over our lives—yet Peter being reconciled should give us hope that our God is slow to anger, not holding the sins of anyone against them and longing to restore us to fellowship.

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One Response to “Peter’s Next Move”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    This story always makes me cringe as I think how easy it would be to betray Christ, all the while thinking we are doing the right thing. I don’t know what Peter thought he was doing. It’s never explained. Knowing his history as a risk taker, I wonder if thought he’d be more help free than captured? Was he just scared and running? Who knows? Thank God for grace and mercy!

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