Today we are reading from Mark 14: 66-72:
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Peter told Jesus when the time came, he would go to death along with him. Others may run or abandon Jesus, but not Peter. He would stand for Jesus until the end. No matter who left or what happened, he would be there, doing what was right, standing beside Jesus. No matter what.
Until it happened. He was questioned. He was asked. People were talking, asking, was he one of Jesus’ followers. And then he did it. He denied it. He cursed. He swore an oath. He did everything to show everyone that he was not one of Jesus’ followers.
He went from being a big dog to tucking tail and running.
He failed. He denied. He turned his back on Jesus. Not just Judas. Peter too.
I don’t want to rush past this. This needs to sting. This needs to hurt. He failed. Yes, he was forgiven in time, a powerful account in the Gospels, but here, in this moment, Peter had the chance to be brave. To stand up. To do right, to have Jesus back.
But he blinked. He failed. He denied. Just as Jesus said he would. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him and Jesus loved Peter anyway. Jesus’ love was greater than Peter’s failure. But in this moment, not just Judas denied. Peter did too.
He failed. Big and loud.
Thankfully, thank Jesus His love is greater than our failure. Peter needed it. And so do we. Because, like Peter, so often we turn from being the big dog to tucking tail and running. Thankful, Jesus loves us more than our failures. May we never take that for granted.
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