…Then they seized Him and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance (Luke 22:54).
When Jesus is arrested, the disciples scatter in fear and go into hiding-all, that is-except for Peter. He follows at a distance then slips into the courtyard, posing as one of the temple police. Though it seems bold and courageous, Jesus does not want him there. He wants him safe with the other disciples. There is no reason for Peter to put himself in jeopardy. Jesus has already spelled out exactly what will happen.
In the cold night air the guards light a fire and Peter sits down to warm himself. But the firelight betrays him. Carefully studying his face, a maid points him out to the other guards: “This man also was with Him.”
Realizing the grave danger, Peter quickly answers, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
A short time later someone else recognizes him and says, “You also are one of them.”
Peter answers, “Man, I am not.” Luke’s narrative is kind to Peter; he only mentions the denials, not the oaths and curses he calls down on himself.
An hour later still another challenges him, “Certainly, this man also was with Him, for he too is a Galilean.”
Peter snaps back, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately he hears a rooster crowing and turns and looks straight into Jesus’ face-even as the words of his third denial are pouring from his lips.
Remembering Jesus’ prediction, Peter goes out and weeps bitterly. In its own way Peter’s denial was as painful for Jesus as was Judas’ betrayal. For Peter the guilt and shame must have been dreadful.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You looked in love on Peter in the midst of his sin. Look on me in my sins and turn me to sorrow and regret, so I may run to You for forgiveness and peace. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.