A Time of Denial!

Luke 22:34- Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” NKJV

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Relationships are complicated. Just when you think you have seen it all, experienced it all, or heard it all, you can be surprised by the way people interact with one another. I’m reminded of a young man I dated in college. Things were a little more serious for him than for me, because when I decided it was time to go our separate ways he mentioned that he had always thought we would get married. That was news to me because it had never been a topic of discussion, and I saw it for the lie that it was, so I kept it moving.

Years later, after I was married, my husband and I saw him at a conference and I went over to say hello. (Keeping a relationship pure makes it easier to introduce old friends.) Anyway, when I approached him to say hello, he asked me if he knew me! Seriously? It wasn’t twenty years later, it was at most five years later; but still? When I said it was okay and started walking away, his memory returned. Just like that!

Jesus had a similar experience. Of course, my situation didn’t touch my heart, but the situation with Peter touched Jesus’ heart. Peter is reclining at the seder meal with Jesus and the other disciples when Jesus says to him:

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32 NKJV

Can you imagine this scene? Peter and Jesus had a tight-knit relationship and Peter thinks all is well. Then Jesus drops this bombshell that Satan has asked for Peter, and he will leave Jesus. All the disciples are together celebrating the Passover, Jesus has revealed Judas as His betrayer, and now He tells Peter that he will leave Him.

We’ve all recognized by this point, that Peter isn’t a shy person. He’s usually the first one with a comment, and he doesn’t disappoint now. He responds to what Jesus has said to him:

“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

Luke 22:33 NKJV

And in Peter’s mind, he was ready. In a flash Peter may have been remembering some of his experiences with Jesus:

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.

Matthe 17:1-2 NKJV

Jesus welcomed Peter into His inner circle. Peter was on the mount of transfiguration where he witnessed Elisha and Moses talking with Jesus. That was a special time in Peter’s life.

And when the disciples were in the boat and they saw Jesus walking by, Peter asked if he could join Jesus on the water:

“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 

Matthew 14:28-29 NKJV

And there was the time Jesus wanted to know who the disciples said that Jesus was, and Peter got the answer right, showing that he knew the truth about Jesus:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16 NKJV

I can see how Peter would have taken offense. I can understand how he was looking at Jesus as if He had forgotten all of their shared experiences, and so he said:

“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

Luke 22:33 NKJV

I can see the Savior looking at Peter with compassion in His eyes and His heart as He drops an even bigger bombshell on Peter:

“I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

Luke 22:34 NKJV

Peter cannot believe it! Jesus is really embarrassing him now and he is probably not happy. Why would Jesus say these things? How could Jesus even think that he would do such a thing? Never! It will never happen! And yet, it did!

Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance….And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

Luke 22:54-57

That was the first time. What is Peter thinking? Oops! I can’t believe I just said that! But he had said it.

And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”

Luke 22:58 NKJV

That was the second time. Peter! What’s going on with you man? What are you doing?

Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

Luke 22:59-60 NKJV

Luke says that at this point Jesus looks at Peter, and Peter remembers His words:

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:61-62 NKJV

How could Peter forget what the Lord said? It wasn’t twenty years later? It wasn’t even five years later? It was only hours before that Peter vehemently declared his allegiance to Jesus. Peter had said that he would go to prison with Jesus or face death with Him and hours later, he denies that he even knew Jesus. And Jesus is sitting near when Peter denies Him! The gospels of Matthew and Mark state that Peter even cursed! Can you believe this? Yes! Because it’s easy to point the finger and criticize another. But what about us?

Have we ever denied Jesus in our lives? What about that time your friends talked you into something, knowing that you were a Christian, and reminding you of the same, but you played it off and went and did that thing anyway? Isn’t that a denial? What about that time when you casually said that you were leaving “your religion” at home while you went and did something that you knew would displease Him and that you shouldn’t be doing as a believer? Could that be denial? Better yet, how about the years you have spent away from Him while you’ve been doing your own thing, living life the way that you want to live it? Could you be denying the Savior? I hope not!

When Peter came to the realization that he had indeed denied Jesus, in His presence, just like Jesus had said, he left that place for a different place, where he cried his heart out for what he had done. It sounds like repentance!

But I want to draw your attention back to what Jesus said to Peter at the seder:

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32 NKJV

Jesus told Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail. Jesus was confident that Peter would return and encouraged him to strengthen his brothers upon his return. He offers you the same opportunity to return to Him that He extended to Peter! Just repent and receive His forgiveness and His acceptance!

Even realizing that Peter would deny Him and that it would cause Him heartache and disappointment, Jesus left Peter with words of encouragement and not condemnation. He wants you to know that His arms are stretched out still! He’s waiting for you! He’s a wonderful Savior! Wonderful Jesus!

Published by wonderfuljesus8

I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord as a child. Once, when I was still quite young, I knocked on a lady’s door, but I don’t remember why. What I do remember is her telling me that I was going to be a preacher. When I was in high school I preached my very first message on Job. It lasted for a long time! LOL! By graduation, I knew that I had been called into ministry. My heart’s desire is to see the people of God understand and operate in the Kingdom of God. We really need to know that we serve an awesome and amazingly good God and our adversary the devil has no good thing dwelling in him.

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