69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-74
I can picture in my mind’s eye Peter standing by a fire warming himself, trying to make heads or tails over what just happened and even berating himself for fleeing the scene while they hauled Jesus away. His mind was racing about what his next moves were now that Jesus was in the hands of the authorities.
Would he take his sword and use it more wisely next time?
Why didn’t He fight when He had the chance?
We would’ve backed him up.
Why’d I run?
Then a servant girl interrupted his thoughts and accused him of actually travelling with Jesus.
Someone else, another girl, said the same thing.
And then a group of them pointed him out.
With each accusation, his protestations got louder and more vulgar, never once realizing that after the first denial he was on his way to fulfilling Jesus’ prediction.
I don’t think it was as much denying Jesus as it was trying to save his own neck. If they had taken out the ring leader, just imagine what they would do with his underlings, or so the logic could have been.
Still, though, it goes in this history books as a great denial. This denial would leave marks for years to come. Even though Jesus forgave him, Peter had to live with it. Of course, we know the full story where Jesus confronts him about the denial, but Peter had to live with this all his born days.
Did it motivate him to be the great apostle that he was?
Was it a constant reminder of his own need for the man he denied?
Was it also a reminder of how sinful and selfish he actually was?
It should be a reminder for us as well, that if even the people who literally ate and walked with Jesus could sin in so great a fashion, we should be careful that we don’t fall into a trap of thinking we could never stoop that low or fall that far. On the contrary. We still exist with sin nature and it’s always knocking at our door, nudging its way in any way it can.
Thank the Lord we have a Savior greater than our sin and failures. Call on Him today.