Peter denies his Lord three times

Francois Fenelon, a 17th century French mystic who wrote the classic Christian Perfection, spoke eloquently of the denial of death. We consider ourselves immortal, or at least we act as though we are going to live for centuries. Folly of the human spirit! Every day those who die … More

Denial

It may be that the other disciples had fled, but Peter had followed Jesus to the courtyard of the High Priests’ house (v. 66). He was bold to show up, but seeking bodily comfort near the fire got him into trouble (v. 67). Caught in a trap by being accused of being with Jesus, Peter denied his Lord three times (vv. 68-70). The third time it says that Peter began, “to curse and swear” (v. 71) and saying he didn’t even know the man they were speaking about. In the Greek language this does not refer to what we think of as “cursing and swearing” and what we would think of as the use of profanity. It simply means that he was saying, “Let me be under a curse if I’m not telling the truth.” Of course he was lying, and when the cock crowed as the Lord had predicted he remembered and his heart was broken (v. 72).

How could Simon Peter deny Jesus as he did? A series of things in his life lead him to this place:

  1. Pride (vv. 27-31)- After the Lord’s supper Jesus said to His disciples, “Before this night is over you will all forsake me and flee.” Peter said, “Regardless of what these other men do I’ll never do that, you can count on me.” Pride was building in Simon Peter’s heart.
  2. Presumption (vv. 37-38, 47, 54) - While Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter and the other disciples were sleeping. Had Peter presumed he was so mature spiritually that he could neglect prayer? He was sleeping when he should have been praying. As Jesus was going to trial it says “Peter followed afar off.”
  3. Peer Pressure (vv. 66-72)- Peter came into the palace of the high priest, sat with the servants and warmed himself at their fire. It was not long before he was denying that he even knew Christ. He was susceptible to the pressures of others.

Application

It is so easy to be around non-Christians and not say a word for Christ. I deny Christ because peer pressure causes me to deny Him. It is only with the Lord’s help that I can keep from denying Him.

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Mark 14:66-72 (English Standard Version)

And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus." But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you mean." And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, "Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know this man of whom you speak." And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

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