Our last reflection focused on betrayal. Today we encounter denial. Peter, the rock on whom Jesus would build His church, thinking he knows his own heart, denied his Lord. The denial however, was only one part of the story, thus we will look to other scriptures to follow it to a joyful conclusion. We will look at the prophecy of Jesus, the event itself and the restoration of Peter afterward.
First, we go to Matthew 26. Here, Jesus talked to His disciples of the days ahead. “all of you will be made to stumble because of this night for it is written.” Peter in the confidence of His flesh said, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus tells him he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows. “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Peter insisted. Matthew’s gospel tells us that the other disciples said the same.
Returning to the Gospel of John chapter 18, we read of that dark night. When the flesh was willing, the spirit was weak. Peter started out fighting. Then he backed away. Matthew, Mark and Luke record that he followed at a distance. He wanted to see what would happen. However, anytime the situation became too close, to the point where he was questioned, he denied the Lord. It happened three times as Jesus said and then the rooster crowed.
Peter, had been called out. After the third denial, John writes, “immediately a rooster crowed.” In Matthew’s record we read, “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus,” Matthew further records, “he went out and wept bitterly.” Jesus knew Peter’s weakness and now Peter knew it too. Surely the next few days weighed heavy on this man. His bitter tears indicate he truly repented. After Jesus returned to the disciples, He called Peter to fellowship over a meal, and utilized the time to rebuild this man. He had work for him to do. He did not leave him in his brokenness, but restored him to the place where he would in time, fulfill another prophecy.
We have looked at the prophecy of Jesus, the event itself and the restoration. From this story, we can rejoice in a Saviour who knows our cowardice but never leaves us there. When we repent and desire to be in relationship with Him, He invites us back into fellowship and brings restoration. He has a work for each of us to do and as with Peter, He sees its end.