Would You Deny Our Lord?

Would You Deny Our Lord?

Peter’s denial of Christ 3 times may be one of the lowest points of his life as a follower of Christ. Who would have thought that the disciple who seemed to be the most loyal could turn his back on his “rabbi?” Yet, he did! The fact that Peter denied Christ not just once but thrice is so unthinkable.

When Jesus warned His disciples that they would all “fall away,” Peter vowed that he wouldn’t. And Jesus said to him, “…before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” But Peter doubled down and said, “I will not deny You, even if I have to die with You” (Mark 14:27-31).

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

Peter’s Three Denials

We can read the story of Peter denying Christ three times in all the 4 gospels (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; and John 18:25-27).

After Jesus got arrested, the guards led Him to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. Here, a group of religious leaders and teachers of the law gathered to put Jesus on trial.

Meanwhile, Peter followed Him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He made sure to stay far enough behind so that no one would notice him. Very cautiously, he entered the courtyard, sat with the guards, and waited to see how it would all end.

However, three different people recognized Peter as one of Jesus’ followers. Yet each time they accused him of being with Jesus, Peter denied it. He even went as far as to swear and say that he didn’t know Him.

The fact that Peter was standing in the enemy’s fire, warming himself, indicates how defeated he was. The denial was even more humiliating because two of the interrogators were servant girls. The third challenge came from a man, one of the bystanders, but Peter failed again.

Listen to the Lord’s Warning

Just as the Lord predicted, Peter denied knowing Him 3 times before the rooster crowed. Take note that Jesus told Peter before He was arrested that he would turn his back on Him. But instead of heeding Jesus’ warning, Peter insisted that he would stick by Him even if it would cost him his life.

Perhaps Peter himself did not expect that he could do what he did. He was not even aware that he was doing exactly what Jesus said he would do. It was only after the rooster crowed that he realized what he has done.

Peter Denies Christ

When the Lord looked at Peter, his heart broke. He knew that he messed up big time! Come to think of it; all Jesus had to do was look at Peter. Jesus warned him that this would happen. Yet, Peter was very confident that his faith won’t fail him no matter what.

Let this be a warning and lesson for the followers of Jesus. Keep in mind what Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth. “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).

God is Faithful, We are Not

People often say, “Promises are made to be broken.” Sadly, this is used to justify not keeping one’s word. In short, we are validating the argument that it’s okay to not always make good your promise. After all, aren’t promises made to be broken?

While this is maybe true for fallen men, it is never the case with God. Whatever God promised, He will surely bring it to pass. It may not always happen within our timeline but it does not mean God won’t fulfill it.

Therefore, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, NIV).

What promise or promises of God have you claimed that are still waiting to get checked off your list? Do not ever lose hope that you will eventually receive them.

From what we read in the gospel accounts, we can conclude that Peter was always bold and straightforward with the Lord. He was never afraid to express exactly what he was feeling in every given situation. He did not hold back, to the point that in certain situations, Jesus had to openly rebuke him.

Overcoming Fear

Can you imagine how Peter must have felt after realizing what he just did? Were you ever at a point where you had to choose between your safety or being loyal to a friend? You’ve committed to catching a bullet for someone you care so much about. But when the time came to put that loyalty to test, you buckled. Why?

The number one reason most people don’t stick with their friends to the end is fear, and that’s normal. We fear for our safety, we fear for our lives! It’s pretty easy to commit to remaining true to someone when everything is great. But when the situation turns into a matter of life or death, that’s when we give in and give up.

Fear is just one of the weapons that Satan uses against us and he’s good with it. But we can defeat the enemy by not allowing fear to overcome us. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 5:7).

The Lord's Guidance
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Jesus Reinstates Peter

The miracle of the rooster’s crow told Peter that a new day was dawning. After all, that is what the rooster’s call means each day. It was not a new day for Judas or the enemies of the Lord. It was a new day for Peter as he repented and wept bitterly.

The Lord saw how sorry Peter was. And God always gives second chances; He will not reject a broken and repentant heart (Psalm 51:17).

So, on the morning of Resurrection Sunday, the angel sent a special message to encourage Peter (Mark 16:7). More importantly, the Lord Himself appeared to Peter that day and restored him to fellowship (John 21:15-19).

You may be wondering why Jesus had to ask Peter if he loved Him three times. We know that Peter and his Lord had already met privately and no doubt took care of Peter’s sins (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).

But since Peter had denied the Lord publicly, there must be a public restoration. Since Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus asked him three personal questions. He also encouraged him by giving a three-fold commission that restored Peter to his ministry.

Concluding Words

Peter’s denial is a warning to all of us. For if an apostle who walked with Christ denied Him, what might we do in similar circumstances?

Thus, before we judge Peter too severely, we need to examine our own lives.

How many times have we denied the Lord and lost opportunities to share the gospel with others? Do we, like Peter, talk when we should listen, argue when we should obey? Do we sleep when we should pray and fight when we should submit?

To Peter’s credit, he was sorry for his sins and wept over them. And the Lord was gracious to not only forgive him but also reinstate him.

Did you repent for those times when you denied your Lord?

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Recommended Resource:

Simon Peter Leader Guide: Flawed but Faithful Disciple by Adam Hamilton

Simon Peter Leader Guide: Flawed but Faithful Disciple by Adam Hamilton

He left everything to follow his teacher and possessed a passion that would change the world. That’s one way to describe Peter. Here’s another: poor, uneducated, quick-tempered, and full of doubts and fears. Doesn’t even sound like the same man.

And that’s the point of Simon Peter, a new book and six-week adult Bible study by Adam Hamilton. Peter was just an ordinary guy who heard and followed God’s extraordinary call.

Discover how you, too, have special gifts, talents, and abilities that God can use to make a difference today.

In addition to the Leader Guide and DVD components for adult studies, corresponding youth and children’s resources, sold separately, can be used to create a churchwide study.

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