Holy Week: Day

Denial

by

Today's Text: Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:10, John 21:17

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!

  • jesusgirl71

    Candacejo, praying for you. Hope you feel better soon.

  • jesusgirl71

    Ladybug1060, I love that song! I had it in my head earlier today. Thanks for sharing.

  • LaurenC_

    My name is Lauren but you may call me Peter.

  • Ellen MR

    Exactly ! Peter must have been crushed but still Jesus loved him! That’s why I would have cried- I identify with being such a disappointment to the One I love because I’ve fallen short time and again! Yet He loves me still… My heart literally hurts for Peter in that moment . This study has brought bible stories I’ve known to life in such an intense way!
    Thank you SRT, you’ve forever changed my perspective about Holy Week! :)

  • ladybug1016

    I just listened to this song again and realized how relevant it is to today's devotional. So I thought I would share.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyPBVwOCYmM&li

  • ladybug1016

    oh, it is so easy to judge Peter and ask how he, one of the most trusted disciples, a close personal friend of Jesus; how could he deny Christ? Especially after he so ardently professed that he would NEVER deny Him or leave Him. The NIV says that he "insisted emphatically!" Yet Peter did just that. Notice that it says when the soldiers led Jesus away that Peter "followed at a distance." This disciple, one of the inner circle, one of Jesus' best friends and he followed at a distance. When we follow Jesus from a distance, we are always going to be tempted to deny Him. We need to be right beside Him because He is always right beside us!! Then so many have mentioned that look that Jesus gave to Peter.

    Matthew Henry's Commentary says this about that look:

    The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. 1. It was a convincing look. Jesus turned and looked upon him, as if he should say, Dost thou not know me, Peter? 2. It was a chiding look. Let us think with what a rebuking countenance Christ may justly look upon us when we have sinned. 3. It was an expostulating look. Thou who wast the most forward to confess me to be the Son of God, and didst solemnly promise thou wouldest never disown me! 4. It was a compassionate look. Peter, how art thou fallen and undone if I do not help thee! 5. It was a directing look, to go and bethink himself. 6. It was a significant look; it signified the conveying of grace to Peter's heart, to enable him to repent. The grace of God works in and by the word of God, brings that to mind, and sets that home upon the conscience, and so gives the soul the happy turn. Christ looked upon the chief priests, and made no impression upon them as he did on Peter. It was not the mere look from Christ, but the Divine grace with it, that restored Peter.

    The fact that it could even be a compassionate look after Peter had so greatly failed His Saviour is amazing to me! Peter fell short, very short. Yet GOD, his loving Father, and JESUS, his loving Friend, still had great compassion for him. And it was conveyed in that simple look. And then Peter turned away and wept BITTERLY! His sin cost him dearly. He lost HIS RELATIONSHIP with his Savior! He lost his standing as one of the trusted disciples. And when Jesus comes back to him after His resurrection? He is back doing his old job of fishing. He thinks he is no longer even worthy to be a follower of Jesus. Yet Jesus tells him to feed His sheep! And Peter would become one of the greatest missionaries, one of the greatest preachers, and one of Christ's most ardent followers. Yes, Peter fell short. WE fall short. I have fallen short! But CHRIST loves me still!!! And Christ loved him still, loves me still and called him to to do great work for His Kingdom, just as He calls me to do a great work for His Kingdom! Oh, the love of Jesus!!

    • Carolynmimi

      LadyBug, you are right on…a LOOK can convey a thousand words and as you point out at the foundational level Jesus locking eyes with Peter expressed love…like only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, can love.

    • Candacejo

      Wonderful!!

  • I have enjoyed these readings so much! Growing up, we weren’t taught about about Lent, Holy Week and Maundy Thursday. Good Friday was just a day off for us. We only observed Easter. Now as a mom and follower of Jesus I want so much more. I want what Jesus did for me, for us, to consume and change me forever.
    I was sharing what I learned today with my children. My 9 year old asked if Peter still went to heaven, even though he betrayed and turned his back on Jesus. I said, “Yes, I’m sure he did because Jesus knew his heart. Our spirits are want to obey God, but our flesh is weak.” This Mama’s heart is so grateful!

    • Candacejo

      Share with your children the Book of Acts, the beginning of the Church and see that Peter was instrumental in the spreading of the Gospel. When the disciples were gathered in the Upper Room after waiting on the promise of the Father, as Jesus had told them to do in Acts chapter 2, and then the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, Peter is the one who explains to the Jews what has happened and goes on to preach the first sermon! Acts is exciting and full of miracles and wonders. Sorry to ramble but Peter gets a chance to redeem himself :)

  • He doesn’t love me any less knowing that I have, and will continue to fall short – wow. I needed that today. Thankyou all

  • Ellen MR

    “….and he went outside and wept bitterly”
    Luke22:62 NIV
    I think I’d probably do the same thing! After all this is someone who Peter knew PERSONALLY, not someone you’ve just heard about or read about thousands of years after the fact. If we can feel such remorse or regret at our failings in our relationship with Christ today, just think what it must have been like- face to face with your friend, mentor, teacher, the one you admire, cherish and love above all others as He looks you in the eye and you understand the truth of His words, the truth of the whole horrible situation…that you did exactly what you swore you would NOT do and you ARE that person you don’t want to be. You see that person reflected back at you from the depths of His anguished eyes…knowing now it has come to pass as He said it would and there is more yet to come! How could Peter bear it??

  • MamaRose

    When I think of what happened when Jesus was arrested I harken back to something I have read in the Bible a number of times, unfortunately, I must admit that I am not one who knows chapter and verse. What I remember is that to walk with Christ, you may lose so many people on your path. Many of those people could be people that you love deeply such as mothers, fathers, sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, best friends, etc. I have often said in my bible study class that the walk of a Christian is a lonely one on the temporal level. It is not on the spiritual level because God is always with us. The path upon which God placed His son was very lonely. Everyone he loved and was with Him deserted Him and He knew it would happen before they did. In going through what He went through, He has shown us what to expect when we choose to follow Him. In continuing to love those who deserted Him, He has shown us how we should treat those who have abandoned us. There are many times when I have deserted my God, sometimes purposely and sometimes unknowingly, but His love is so forgiving. With every mistake, I have gained wisdom. With every mistake, I am shown all the more that I must forgive. With every mistake, I learn more about myself and how I must tread on my path with Him. I have learned that I must not look to the left or the right and never look back. I must keep my eyes on His back, keep my faith strong and keep trusting without doubt. Is this easy….Nope…but it is worth the joy that I feel and the strength that I get when I am being sorely pressed. My cup truly runneth over……

  • Carolynmimi

    JuneBug, I love Peter, too and you are so right, he wasn't supposed to prevent Jesus execution…that wasn't God's plan. And, hard as it is for me to accept, I think Peter's denial of Jesus fit into the plan. Sometimes when I get all full of myself or as jesusgirl71 puts it , I start judging others, saying, "I would never do that!", I come face to face with my own weaknesses. Either I blatantly or more often stumble into sin, lying to save face, or turning away from another's need..whatever! I feel Jesus's eyes meet mine through the power of the Holy Spirit and I am convicted.

    Truth is, I have come to accept that there is no sin that I am not capable of committing, not a single commandment I have not broken either actually or vicariously….I am a sinner, like Peter, saved by grace.

    Peter's story does not end with the weight of his failure, nor does mine. Jesus restores Peter as He continually restores me. Oh, to love Jesus as He loves me.

  • jesusgirl71

    Carolynmimi, I love that song! Ouch! When we fail to do these things, we deny Him! That really stepped on my toes today. Thank You, God, for loving me in spite of this!

  • jesusgirl71

    Junebug, wow! When Istill saw this, about that not being a part of God’s plan, I thought, oh man! Peter screwed everything up again! But then, what you said makes sense, and God used even this to extend grace to that servant. Wow! God can use anything.

  • jesusgirl71

    Candacejo, I haven’t thought about it in quite that way, but you’re right. In these last days, we need relationship more than ever! We need to stick close to Him! Thank you for this!

  • jesusgirl71

    Ibukun, exactly what I was trying to express. You put it so much more eloquently than I did! Yes, praise God, He doesn’t love me any less, knowing that I have and will continue to fall short. We get disappointed in our loved ones when they fall short, and sometimes, we feel hurt, but He knows we will and yet doesn’t turn away!

  • jesusgirl71

    I can relate to Peter in one way here. How many times do we think, concerning certain sins or people who commit them, “I would never do that!” And yet, we are so weak, we are capable of any sin, without God’s help. Without him, without our minds stayed on Him, under the right circumstances, we are capable of anything! And yet, He loves us still! Thank You, Jesus!

  • I love Peter! I love how he wears his heart on his sleeve. He's genuine. He speaks what he thinks and there is no mincing his words. He often acts impulsively and feels the heavy weight of the consequences when it all goes wrong. I can see why Jesus felt such affection towards him. I am drawn to the Peters in my life. I don't have to wonder where I stand with them. There are no head games or reading between the lines to worry about.

    I am so curious what silent dialogue went on between Jesus and Peter when their eyes met. He denied him, yes. I do not want to diminish the seriousness of what happened there. But, thankfully Jesus also understood his frail humanity. Jesus knew the long term ripple effect of that night. And how, for Peter, this painful moment would allow him face his own weakness. And I, too, must face my own weakness in order to understand how much Jesus loves me. To fathom the extent of his grace and to allow it to saturate all of me, especially when I fail.

    "If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am." 2 Cor 11:30 (NLT)

    • Candacejo

      LOVE that last part you wrote…I must face my own weakness in order to understand how much He loves me and allow it saturate all of me, especially when I fail. Good, good stuff, 'cause I fail an awful lot ;)

  • Ellen MR

    Whoops, hit publish… But some can’t cope with illness and after all the nightmares I have had seeing her in such tough shape, I get it. I would still be there, but I sure don’t like those last memories- I’d rather remember her whole and well- just like my sister said she wanted to remember her like. Thank goodness my sister didn’t hold it against me! We ended up closer than ever too! :)

    • JuneBug

      I'm so glad that your experience produced a stronger relationship with your sister. Thank you for sharing that. Everyone has such a different way of handling such a painful event. Sometimes the actions of others make little sense to us at all until we investigate further. I still cope with loss, illness and death in a way that I don't like. Who does, really?

      In the case of my father, he lived through the "valley of the shadow of death." At one point the doctors gave him 3 days to live. That was 18 years ago. God granted us a miracle and a chance to enjoy many years as a family together, but it was an experience I'll never forget.

  • Ellen MR

    Junebug I understand where you are coming from! I was the caregiver for my mother who was chronic then terminally ill. When the “time” came, I was the only one by her side. My sister, and my mom’s best friend , were both absent. I thought they of all should have been there, i was passing judgement on their inability to cope. So not only were they distraught about her death, I did my best to add guilt to the list too! How horrid was I ? It took me awhile to get over myself and understand some folks just CAN’T

  • Peter, Peter, Peter. And yet, this is the same Peter who when Jesus asked, "Who do you say I am" cried out "You are the Messiah!" This is the same Peter who when Jesus asked "will you leave me as well?" to the disciples, spoke out and said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life."

    I just did a quick study of this passage and found a commentary, Barnes Commentary on the Bible, which says the following:

    Simon Peter answered him – With characteristic ardor and promptness. Peter was probably one of the oldest of the apostles, and it was his character to be first and most ardent in his professions.

    To whom shall we go – This implied their firm conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, and that he alone was able to save them. It is one of Peter's noble confessions – the instinctive promptings of a pious heart and of ardent love. There was no one else who could teach them. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes were corrupt, and unable to guide them aright; and, though the doctrines of Jesus were mysterious, yet they were the only doctrines that could instruct and save them.

    I love that. Peter as ardent. He ardently affirmed the Lord and then equally ardently denied Him. And then ardently repented. Despite his being often pictured as a bit of a bumbling buffoon, Peter is an earnest man. I often wonder what happened to his family after Pentecost…but that's another bunny trail. :)

    • Candacejo

      Up to about Acts 15 Peter is pretty busy :) and I think I've heard that's about 20 years of preaching the Gospel by then. He was the first one to spread the "Good News" when they ask "men and brethren, what shall we do?" I think it is pretty cool with all of his mistakes the Lord lets him preach the first sermon in the Book of Acts, chapter 2, the beginning of the Church!! And we are living in Acts chapter 29!!! We are the Church! Go Peter!

  • Charmaine

    Thank you Carolynmimi those words hit home. I have failed God so many times and always cry asking for forgiveness. My friend and I have this saying that not only does God bottle up my tears he’s giving me my own room. Cause my tears are so many.

    Your goodness so great I can’t understand,
    And, dear Lord, I know that all this was planned;
    I know You’re here now, and always will be,
    Your love loosed my chains and in You I’m free;
    But Jesus, why me?
    ( It seems I’m always asking him why me)
    And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
    I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
    I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
    And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.”

    Thank you again for these words it help me to remember that I am loved!

  • Ellen MR

    Great post Candacejo!
    Kim, love your prayer! Praying for the same myself and will lift you up in mine also!
    Once again I am wrecked and humbled by His immense love for us- all I can compare it to is my love for my kids- yet even that falls short of our Father’s love for all of us…
    Wow. That’s all I can say.
    And Thank you.
    What a week so far!

  • Carolynmimi

    "And Peter wept. He didn’t run back and say, “Wait, I am a disciple of Jesus!” He turned away and cried."

    The heartbreak of failing someone I love is wrenching and I have failed many, including my Lord.  I have chosen to be silent, when someone needed me to speak.  I have avoided association with someone, who needed my friendship. I have run away from confrontations that could have helped someone turn from temptation.  I have not visited a sick friend and instead said, "I will pray for you.", because my friend's illness made me feel vulnerble.  In all of these, I have denied Christ for as a Christian to not act as He would is denial.

    And, like Peter,  I have wept.

    Praise God, for Jesus beckons me to come, receive His body and His blood, His forgiveness and His commission. He know I am weak, but He promises that when I fall and I will, He will lift me up.  He also leads me to scripture that comforts and challenges me….to music that carries me into worship of Him!

    So I share these two with you, my SRT Sisters, all our tears are known, kept in a bottle, remembered by God and for those (our) tears He died:

    You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? (Psalms 56:8 NKJV)

    Your goodness so great I can't understand,
    And, dear Lord, I know that all this was planned;
    I know You're here now, and always will be,
    Your love loosed my chains and in You I'm free;
    But Jesus, why me?

    And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by My side,
    I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied;
    I felt ev'ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
    And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."

    • JuneBug

      "my friend's illness made me feel vulnerble"
      Carolynmimi, you just put words down to a feeling I couldn't put my finger on or name. Thank you! I wonder how many times I have acted like such an insensitive jerk when I didn't know how to face someone who was seriously ill. I think about my father years ago, how I avoided seeing him in the hospital. Not because I didn't care…but because I cared so much and hurt so much for him. I couldn't stand seeing his emaciated body, his sunken eyes. Yes, I felt so vulnerable. It frightened me and I didn't have the same relationship with God to trust that He could walk me through it.

    • LaurenC_

      Beautiful. Amen.

  • mindykim

    That's right.. We know how Jesus had to follow God's will, to free us from all sins by dying on the Cross for us, taking the cup that God has given him. Bur we rarely think what would Jesus have felt like thinking and knowing that we, his followers, his sheep will be scattered….. Wow. His love truly endures forever and compassion is always so fervently ablazed. Praise Him. We love you…so so so so much….:,)

  • Sherry_H

    What a great reminder that when we take things into our own hands, we will mess things up. We need to let God's will be done.
    Jesus could have called angels to help him, but it wasn't God's plan.
    Peter cut off the guard's ear trying to save Jesus, but saving him wasn't God's plan.

    And the LOVE…
    No matter how much we goof up, He loves us still!

    "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:33-35 KJV)

    • JuneBug

      "Peter cut off the guard's ear trying to save Jesus, but saving him wasn't God's plan." I never thought of this before. Right! God had purpose in Peter's rash action. Peter's intention was to harm the guard. God's plan was to show love and grace. Wow!

  • I have this bad habit. I sometimes allow myself to stumble in a relationship just to see if they love me for me. I don't do it on purpose, but in that I am codependent at times I think I might afraid I might be liked just for my talents, or what I can do for others. Maybe Peter needed to know, just how loved he was. And now he knew what an amazing God he served and believed in.

    How can others believe in gods you have to work for to be loved. To live in a "works for grace" world, vs "grace vs works". Praise God for how much he loves us, even when we stumble.

  • Candacejo

    Surely in these "last days" it is going to take more than a head knowledge of our Lord to be able to stand and NOT deny Him. It will taken RELATIONSHIP. Walking with Him every day, spending time with Him and applying His Word to our hearts. Will we stumble and fall like Peter? Yes. But He picks us up, dusts us off and reminds us He still loves us and shows us where we failed.

    Peter led the first Church in the book of Acts! He was a mighty man of God! If God could use him after his failures and denial there is hope for me!

    "His mercies are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness!!" Lamentationsn 3:23.

    • JuneBug

      You are so right Candacejo. It was a good word for me today. I am more comfortable in my "head" than in my heart. Nurturing my relationship with Jesus is so important! Every day. The more time I spend with the Lord, the more He tenderizes my heart. Relationship first. Then I'm ready to extract the stuff in my head and do something useful and meaningful with it.

      • Candacejo

        Tenderizes my heart, I love that :) and I need that! This has all been so good this week! I've been stuck literally on my back almost all week, stupid SI joint, so I've been blogging and reading…alot…LOL… you all have been a blessing! ♥

  • The words that first struck me in this devotional this morning were” Yet, Jesus also knew their hearts.” His heart was burdened with the knowledge of what he was about to suffer, but also knowing that in His darkest moments His dear brothers, his best friends would not just leave him, but would deny even knowing him. AND YET. . .Jesus also knew their hearts Just as He knows our hearts! He knows us and loves us still.

    I had never thought of what Peter did after he realized his betrayal. . . he did NOT run back and say, “Wait, I am a disciple of Jesus!” He turned away and cried. He still could not acknowledge his relationship with Jesus. He had to come to the realization of who he was, his own weakness, his own failure, and then begin again to build his faith and love and trust in Jesus. He became a leader, a faithful follower, but he had to acknowledge his own helplessness first! What a great lesson in more ways than one. The realization that we are nothing without him, but also that we can be utter failures, and Jesus can build us back up and use us for great work!

    Father – see my weak and failing heart and pour into me your Holy Spirit to do your glorious Kingdom work. On my own, I am an utter failure, but not in Your eyes, not in Your Kingdom. Make me worthy of your death and suffering!

  • Donna Solomon

    All glory to our Wonderful Father! This tender piece has caused me to reflect on our Wonderul Father's love and goodness toward us. How blessed we are to know this Jesus, our Savior and His Holy. Spirit, our closest confidant.

  • Jean Scott

    I can’t begin to image the great love of God. Today these scriptures says it all. Jesus sees the falls of His disciples, and yet do not refuse them. Oh what ah love!!

    Peter he fell short. And Christ loved him still- and called him to to do great work for His kingdom. Isn’t God good to show us over and over again even amidst the trail of His Son that He loves us? Even when we are weak, He is strong. P.S. Remember Gods great love….

    • Carolynmimi

      You are so right. He knows we fail before we do, and yet He picks us up, dries our tears of failure, gives us a new mission…and with every fall, every yielding to His arms, we become stronger in Him. Like you, today, I remember God's Love…

  • I love to be reminded that Jesus, my Precious Heavenly Father still loves me and will use me even when I have denied Him in the past! I think Peter was crushed and broken when he realized what he had done. I think we’ve all been there! But the Glorious picture is that Jesus does not leave us there! O how I love Him! Thankful for His forgiveness! Have a blessed day, I will be praying for all of you today!

  • In the moment of highest worship or when we feel emotions strongest I tell my God that I love Him and I would NEVER go back to destructive relationships I was coming out from. And then the all knowing One would whisper in my ear “Ibukun, you will fall short again” and like Peter I am broken that God would “put me down” so quickly. And like Peter, when I fall short and I feel the knowing gaze of Jesus, I turn aside to weep. Still this King does not love me any less. He recognises my frailities and encourages me to look to Him for strength. Thank You, Lord.

    “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

    for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)

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