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Peter’s denial is a topic covered in multiple books of the Bible and is one of the stories often told by preachers and theologians. The question is often pondered – why would a disciple deny Christ? In the account written by Luke, we read the following:
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”Luke 22:31-34
Peter thought himself to be reliable – and that was the problem. For all that Peter had witnessed and experienced, he failed to take seriously the warning and words of comfort Christ was offering. Instead, Peter declared to Christ his unwavering allegiance to which Christ offered a sobering reality. Peter, you may say that you’re reliable, but you won’t even make it through tonight. Still, Peter did not believe that he could fail. How often do we miss what God is trying to tell us because our pride blocks us from listening?
Peter’s Denial – A Lesson in Reliability
If you keep reading Luke 22, you’ll read about the arrest of Christ in Gethsemane that same night, and you’ll learn about Peter’s response. Once arrested, Peter followed Christ being taken away, but at a distance. Once Peter was in the courtyard of where Jesus was taken, three people recognized him to be a disciple of Christ. All three times, he denied knowing Jesus. After the third denial, we read in verses 74 & 75:
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
In that moment, Peter’s fear of being arrested outweighed his love for Christ. Yet haven’t we all been there? Please know that we are all susceptible to being unreliable, to not taking a stand when it’s difficult, to denying what’s most important to us and for us, and to being so afraid that we lose courage. God knows our struggles, so this why Jesus gave the following advice in Luke 6:37:
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
To understand Peter’s Denial is to know that we all have flaws. Our shortcomings are why God asks us to judge not. What Peter did was wrong, but we shouldn’t label him as weak or a terrible person. We all make mistakes, and we hope those mistakes do not define us. There was still hope for Peter, and there is still hope for us.
When Jesus spoke to Peter, in Luke 22:32 he stated – But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail. In Isaiah 7:9, we read a portion of God’s response to King Ahaz after the king had gone astray. He stated – If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established. In James 1:5-6, James (a disciple of Christ) told us “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
Throughout the Bible, we see the power of faith. Faith is what allows us to become reliable. Our belief in God, meaning our belief in His holiness, power, sanctity, and divinity, is what establishes us in His grace and love. Our faith, built through experience, is what takes us through life’s difficulties by allowing us to have a greater trust in the will of God. No matter the outcomes, we will not waver.
I take comfort in knowing that God has faith in us, despite our imperfections. Jesus had faith in Peter, knowing that although Peter would fail, he would return to Christ and be an even brighter flame in this dark world. We won’t always get it right, but that should never stop us from trying. I take comfort in knowing that God is our advocate, and our friend.Print This Post