Jesus is Denied by Peter:
“Jesus said to Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” (Mark 14:30).
Yesterday, we looked at the story of Jesus agonizing in prayer in the Garden to such an extent that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. In Jesus’ darkest hour, His closest friends were sleeping. We left off the story where Jesus said, “The time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. See, my betrayer is here.” Let’s continue reading through this story together.
But even as he said this, a mob approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, how can you betray me, the Son of Man, with a kiss?” When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords.” And one of them slashed at the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “Don’t resist anymore.” And he touched the place where the man’s ear had been and healed him. Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests and captains of theTempleguard and the other leaders who headed the mob. “Am I some dangerous criminal,” he asked, “that you have come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in theTemple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s residence, and Peter was following far behind. The guards lit a fire in the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers.” Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know the man.” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them.” “No, man, I’m not.” Peter replied. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of Jesus’ disciples because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And as soon as he said these words, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times.” And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly. (Luke 22:47-62).
What does this story speak to us today? First of all, the prophet Isaiah said about Jesus, “He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.” (Isaiah 53:3). Do you ever feel lonely? Have you ever been betrayed or rejected? This story offers us the encouragement that Jesus knows what you’re going through. Jesus was despised and rejected, betrayed and denied, and forsaken by all of His closest friends. When you feel alone, call out to Jesus and know that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Secondly, can you relate to Peter in this story? Have you ever denied Jesus, by your words or your actions? Have you ever denied that you were a Christian, because you were afraid of what people would say about you? Then take heart, because you’re not alone. Every one of Christ’s followers has, at one time or another, been unfaithful to the Lord. But even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:1-3). Remember what Jules Ellinger said, “Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
If you’ve denied Jesus in your words, your actions, or your lifestyle, then go to His throne of grace today and make things right with Him. The Bible says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong… My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely. He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” (1 John 1:9; 2:1-2).
Pastor Chris Jordan