But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. Luke 22:57 (NIV)
He was ready to go to prison – even to death – with Jesus. That's what Peter said.
But Jesus knew the truth, which was that in a few dark hours, Peter would disown him. "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me" (Luke 22:34 NIV). ??And at the exact moment when Peter finished saying, for the third time, "He's a stranger to me!" the rooster took his cue and started to crow.
Jesus, in chains, looked up and locked eyes with his friend, and for the second time that night, he felt the sting of a friend betraying him. But this time he wasn't sold for thirty pieces of silver; he was sold for the price of anonymity.
And Peter went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62).
He wept because he'd given in to fear when he knew he should have headed into faith. Like you and me, Peter had followed his instincts for survival.
In his grief, he failed to understand something Jesus had explained at their final supper together. Jesus said he had to go away so the Counselor would come (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit sent from God would enter the lives of those who loved Jesus, creating a permanent connection between the Creator and the created.
The Holy Spirit was coming to teach and to guide, and to help us live by our new nature. We may still make mistakes of impulse and instinct, falling back into sinful thoughts and actions -- what Corrie Ten Boom refers to as echoes of the past.
But in the present and the future, we are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).
Fitting words from Peter, written years after the night he probably thought he'd ruined the rest of his life here on earth and for all eternity.
Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace.
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This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.