Day 23 – Peter denies that Jesus is his friend

Bible reading: Luke 22:54–62

Peter says that he does not know Jesus

54 Then they took hold of Jesus. They took him away and they brought him to the house of the leader of the priests. Peter was following them, but he did not go near Jesus. 55 People lit a fire in the yard of the house and they sat round it. Peter went and he sat with them. 56 A girl who worked there then saw Peter in the light from the fire. She looked carefully at him and she said, ‘This man also was a friend of Jesus.’ 57 Peter replied, ‘Woman, that is not true! I do not even know him.’

58 After a short time, someone else looked at him. ‘You also are one of their group,’ he said. Peter replied, ‘Man, I am not one of them.’

59 After about an hour, another man said, ‘I am sure that this man was a friend of Jesus. He also is from Galilee.’ 60 Peter replied, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ While Peter was still speaking, a cockerel sang loudly. 61 Then the Lord Jesus turned round and he looked at Peter. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: ‘You will say tonight that you do not know me. You will say it three times before the cockerel sings in the morning.’

62 Then Peter went outside away from the house and he cried a lot.

Luke 22:54-62 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

Delighted to have captured Jesus without a problem, the soldiers hurried him to the leader priest’s house. It was a cold spring night and the people of the household had a fire in the courtyard to warm themselves. Walking quietly a long distance behind them came Simon Peter. Cold and very confused by what had happened, he tried to warm himself at the fire. But that was a big mistake. He was recognized.

Denied three times

Not once but three times the people said to Peter that he was a friend of Jesus. Three times he denied it with curses. And then the rooster crowed! Peter had boasted earlier that night that he would follow Jesus to death if necessary. And Jesus had predicted that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny that he knew him three times. Well, he did. Why? Absolute terror. Crucifixion was the most terrible way to die. Peter thought it would happen to Jesus, and feared it would happen to him if he admitted being a friend of Jesus.

Bitter regret

Pride comes before a fall, and Peter had lost all his pride and courage. He went out and wept bitterly.

To its great credit, the Roman Catholic Church has a painting of Peter’s denial at the front of St Peter’s Church in Rome. It does not hide the failure of Peter whom the church is named for.

But what a warning to us all of the disastrous failures that pride, lies and disloyalty can lead us into.