The story of Peter’s denial of knowing Christ v. 66—72 is one that tugs at my heart for the sadness that Peter must have endured. Here was a man chosen to lead and was called to be a “fisher of men” by the Lord himself. What might have changed his ideas about standing up for the Lord?
Peter’s denial was just the result of being human. Fear of harm was no doubt the reason he denied knowing Christ. Yet how many of us would not have the same fears as he? Considering that millions of Christians have been killed worldwide as a result of their profession of faith, this story illustrates that even the most solid believer can have weakness. Peter found that he was not prepared to face persecution and the ridicule that Jesus was suffering.
In the past I have wondered how I would respond if I was threatened with death as a result of a confession for Christ. Of course until the actual test came, I do not know how I would respond. Self preservation is a strong motive for us and there are many factors that need to be considered in making a life or death decision. Alone, I may have difficulty in admonition of Christ, with His strength upon me I may be brave enough to die for His sake.
The conclusion of Peter’s denial story is continued in Luke 22. Why did Jesus predict and allow Peter to fail so miserably? God allowed it to strip away his self confidence and vanity which allowed Peter to gain humility and to eventually serve his Church with a new determination.
What can we learn about ourselves from Peter’s failure? We will fail and continue to disappoint ourselves and God. Whether we carry guilt from something we said or didn’t speak up for, something we did and know we shouldn’t have, thinking evil about someone, take heart because Peter felt like us as well. Did we walk away from God and feel far from him? There is hope for us all. Praise God!