Text: Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:10, John 21:17
When I think of Peter in the Bible, I often picture a best friend of Jesus. Someone He dearly loved. Hotheaded Peter was the first to get himself into a mess and the first to feel deep remorse over what he had done. When the high priests came to take Jesus away for trial “… Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.” (John 18:10) Jesus had to step in and rebuke Peter, reminding him that this was God’s will for him.
When it was time for Jesus to begin the process of saying goodbye to the men He loved so dearly, Jesus foretold that all of them would leave Him at some point during those days.
“All of you will desert me. For the scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’” (Mark 14:27)
Peter emphatically denies he’ll do any such thing. Jesus replies with the famous text, “I tell you the truth Peter, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” (Mark 14:30)
How heavy the burden on Jesus’ heart to know what He was about to suffer, what He was about to feel and see, but also to know in those moments His dear brothers would leave Him – deny even knowing anything about Him.
Yet, Jesus also knew their hearts. Peter denied Him the third time, and the Bible says, “At that moment The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind.” (Luke 22:61) And Peter wept. He didn’t run back and say, “Wait, I am a disciple of Jesus!” He turned away and cried. We can only guess that a part of Peter finally understood how weak he really was still in his faith, but the years after would challenge and shake him to become a man that was deeply committed to the Lord. Jesus appeared to Peter after He was resurrected and asked him to “feed my sheep” (John 20.1–10; 21). The first chapters of the book of Acts describe Peter’s role as leader of the twelve apostles – the replacement for Judas. (Acts 1.15–26; 2.14–40)
As you seek the Lord this coming weekend in preparation for Good Friday and Easter, remember God’s great love for Peter. He was a disciple – a great friend to Christ – and yet he fell short. Very short. And Christ loved him still – and called him to do great work for His Kingdom! Isn’t God good to show us over and over again – even amidst the trial of His Son – that He loves us? Even when we are weak, He is strong. And He wants to use us in the great outworking of His plan for His glory!