I read John 18…
I started thinking about Peter and his thoughts.
You were so brave, so full of passion. You faced down soldiers- prepared to die for him. A man from nowhere who called you from your nets just months ago.
And now you are so full of fear and doubt. Standing in the night. He is inside. All of society is screaming accusations and raining down their jealousies on him. They are scared too- scared because he is not them. Yet they are losing control. And they are terrified and livid- a man saying things, doing things. They believe He cannot possibly be the messiah because He is not here to conquer and kill. He is not here to destroy their enemies and place their people over all others. These people who live shrouded in judgment and rules. They are afraid because He is something they are not. And they are too blind to see Him.
And yet Peter, you stand here afraid in the night- in the flickering light of the fire. Shadows are crossing their faces like devils stalking you in the night. They are sneering and pointing. They are asking you to claim Him. They are calling you one of his followers. And now you who ate with Him walked with Him- saw His glory revealed on the mountain, witnessed his healing of so many…now you stand in fear with a torment raging between your heart and the very thought of being pulled into the midst of the mob with Him. Remember Peter how He told you that He would build his church upon you. So many things he said and you did not understand. But you knew that you loved Him, loved him like no other. You loved him enough to walk away from everything- your life, all that you know. And now in the darkest hour, the darkest night you are going to be so afraid of them that you will deny this man. I wonder if his eyes, his face flashes before you when you hear your mouth declare your denial.
And then not once but three times you say out loud that you do not know this Jesus- this man who has changed your life. Then the rooster crows. His words come back to you. Your adamant rejection, “No Lord! I will never deny you!”, rings in your ears. It pounds with every beat of your heart. Peter, the anguish you must feel in your soul. The tears and the sick feeling- the realization of how horrible, how utterly undeserving of him you are.
I know the feeling well. So many times my fear, my insatiable desire for approval and popularity has been so much more important than my Lord. I have worshiped so many false gods and utterly denied my Jesus, your Jesus. I know full well Peter- the ache, the hurt, and the shame. I too have denied my Lord. I too have been in the dark night and heard my own denials. I have felt my own bile rise up in my throat from the horrendous despair that wants to overtake me. I want to wretch because I know that I have spit upon all that he has done for me. Oh Peter, I know. Peter, I know too well…