“No he didn’t!”
Yes he did, and Jesus told him he would.
Who would have believed Peter, the strong, vocal, rough fisherman type leader; the one who professed Jesus to be the Christ; the main guy of the inside crowd, the top one of the top three closest friends of Jesus, would deny knowing Jesus not once but three times in one night?
But he did. How did this happen?
Three things took place that brought Peter to this broken place and if we don’t acknowledge them, they will do the same to us:
First Jesus warned Peter Satan was after him "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail….”
Peter replied, "Lord, I am ready…” (Lk 22:31-33)
Pete was not ready because he had not acknowledged his fight was not of flesh and blood, but of a spiritual nature. Peter was strong in his own might, but not in the power of the Lord. Paul warns us about being careful when we think we’re 10-foot tall and bulletproof. That’s when we are most vulnerable for spiritual attack.
Second, Peter was not listening to the Lord. He was making his own plans and telling Jesus how it would be. If you have been telling God your plans lately, stop! Your thoughts and His thoughts are not the same–His are higher and you need to listen more than you speak.
Finally, Peter’s descent began when he followed Jesus at a distance, mingled with the crowd, which was against Jesus, tried to fit in while staying close to Jesus but at a safe distance and trying to follow Jesus while trying to look like, talk like and act like the world – he did it…Three times he denied Jesus, the last time with emphatic and vulgar language. And when Peter’s eyes met Jesus, no words were necessary–Peter was broken.
Friend, the same will be true for us if we try to serve the Lord in the flesh, and try to stay as close to the world as we can get but still follow the Lord at a safe distance. The results will be a life that denies it knows Jesus. The good news is we can stop doing that today! If this has been your practice recognize it today repent and return to Jesus completely. He will welcome you with loving arms!
This wasn’t the end for Peter, and it doesn’t have to be for you either.
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.