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And from his own lips, he confessed Jesus was the Messiah.
But when cornered by a small servant girl in Caiaphas’ courtyard, Peter cowered.
Not once. Not twice. But three times.
Three times–in the face of accusations–he denied he knew Jesus.
Each accusation surprised and confounded him. He couldn’t hide who he was: A disciple of Jesus.
“He’s a Nazarene. A Galilean. A member of that sect. A spy,” the little servant girl said. Alone and surrounded by hostile people, Peter felt in danger.
Perhaps Peter recalled what Jesus said, “Satan wants to sift you.” Perhaps he thought, “Satan is sifting me.”
Yet, aggravated by the circumstances, he cursed himself and God if he knew Jesus. That’s when the cock crowed for the second time.
At that point it dawned on Peter what he’d done. He ran away, covered himself with his cloak like a mourner and wept bitterly.
Don’t Miss This
This event towers in my mind. It makes connections to the scandal in Nazareth. The betrayal of Judas. It’s a sloppy event, closely related to Peter’s impulsive mouth and Mary’s reckless sense of worship.
Peter’s denial is not a polished event. Not heroic. Nor legend-making material for a man.
All four gospels record Peter’s betrayal. The purpose? To draw a vivid distinction between man’s frailty and God’s mercy.
It is a grim but touching scene, the sincerity of Peter’s repentance. Darby said:
The word of Christ shall be true, if that of Peter be false-His heart faithful and full of love, if that of Peter (alas! like all ours) is unfaithful and cowardly. He confesses the truth, and Peter denies it. Nevertheless the grace of our blessed Lord does not fail him; and, touched by it, he hides his face and weeps.
Walk Away With This
Peter’s sin was great: He denied Christ before men. He denied Christ before men at a time when he ought to have confessed and owned him. But his repentance was swift. And he did as the tax collector who smote his breast in sorrow for sin.
**Part of The Messiah: Eleven Meditations from the Book of Mark series.**