JEFF KIMES, EXECUTIVE PASTOR
Last week’s Explore the Bible lesson was on the passage in Luke 22: 54-62 about Peter’s denial of Jesus. It is a passage most of us are very familiar with and I, like you, have read it and heard it taught many times. As I read through it this week the Holy Spirit pressed on my heart a thought that I wanted to explore. Was there more in the denial? Could it have been more of an issue of pride? For the sake of space I will list the scripture references instead of the passages. I would encourage you to look them up and read through each one.
Peter was the one disciple that would leap before he looked. In Mark 8:27-30 Jesus asked his disciples “who do people say I am?” They responded, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say a prophet.” Jesus continued and said “But who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “you are the Christ!” Peter was one of the first to recognize who Jesus really was.
In the upper room at the time of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus was telling His disciples that they will all fall away and scatter. Peter proudly speaks up and says “Even though all may fall away I will not.” Peter proudly makes his claim. Jesus then tells Peter that before the rooster crows he would deny Him 3 times. (Mark 14:27-30)
A short time later, while in the garden Judas betrays Jesus. Peter makes a feeble attempt with a sword and cuts the ear off of one of the guards and then flees with the other disciples. He failed to live up to what “he” said he would do.
Luke 22:54-62 describes the events that happened next. Jesus is taken to the house of the high priest and put on trial and questioned while Peter is following at a distance. Reading though the passage we see three different times that Peter denies knowing Jesus, and after the third denial the rooster crows. Verse 61 probably describes the worst moment of Peter’s life, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Put yourself in Peter’s shoes and imagine what that would have felt like. “And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He told him, before the rooster crows today you will deny me three times.”
Peter was there, he was close enough to see all that was going on, and he was close enough for Jesus to see him. He was a broken man; he had failed his master, his Lord, and his Savior. Peter thought he was prepared to go to the end with Jesus, but he was acting out of his own pride. He finally realized he could do nothing without Jesus.
Have you ever denied Jesus? I know I have, and I know the feeling Peter had, the brokenness and guilt. Our denial is usually due to our own pride, setting Jesus aside and saying “I got this.” When we should be saying “Jesus you have this. Show me what you would have me do.”
John 21:15-17 is a wonderful picture of love and restoration. Jesus restores the broken.
In 1 Peter 5:5 you can almost see Peter reflecting back on this time in his life as he writes “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
God Bless , Jeff Kimes