Dear God in heaven, I praise you - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I confess to you all of my sins, and I ask you to forgive me in the name of Jesus. Thank you, God of the universe, for creating me and the universe around me, for loving me before the world began, and for sending Jesus to suffer and die for me. Lord, please guide and direct me now, in these next few minutes, as I read and meditate on your Word.
I ask all of this in Jesus' name. Amen!
Peter’s First Denial
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Peter’s Second and Third Denials
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
Denial. Denial is such a strong word. It is the polar opposite of the 'extravagant worship' we heard about last Sunday - the way the crowd praised Jesus on Palm Sunday or Mary lavished Jesus with perfume in Bethany. Denial says I have don't know you and I have nothing to do with you.
I'm thinking there is some significance to the fact that Peter denied Christ three times. We know that after the Resurrection, Jesus restored Peter by asking him three times, "Do you love me?" That Peter denied Christ multiple times but was still restored reminds me that Jesus forgives me for the many times I have 'denied' him. For all the times I've failed to speak or act when I was prompted by the Holy Spirit. For all the times I've gone my own way or tried to do it on my own. For all the times I've acted as if God's not there and I've failed to call on his name.
Thank God that, if we come back to him, he will gently and lovingly restore us.