“I am not he,” – Peter
40 blogs of Lent, day 28
The second of the people who used “I am” in a negative way was Peter.
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a cock crowed. John 18:15-18, 25-27
Peter denies Jesus. But it goes further than that, he denies who he is as well.
Look at Peter’s history:
He has been with Jesus for three years and seen Jesus perform many miraculous healings and other signs. Then the apostles are sent out in pairs, and they perform similar signs. He has also heard from the 72 disciples who were sent out. Peter has personal experience of the power of God, something he cannot deny.
In the courtyard he is with nother disciple who is known. That is why the question comes, “You also are noy one of his disciples, are you?”
As well as the other disciple who is known. The other disciple, who got Peter in there, is known to be a follower, so it cam be assumed that Peter is as well.
And Peter bottles it. He becomes scared for his own safety, and, impulsive as ever says the first thing he can think of. Denial not only of knowing Jesus but also of himself. Peter’s identity is tied to that of Jesus.
Peter is impulsive. That is not necessary a bad thing. That impulsiveness led him to get out of the boat when Jesus was walking on the water and to proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.But it has its down side, it also led to him telling Jesus that he should not go to Jerusalem to die.
Personality does not change much. After Pentecost Peter, full of the power of the Holy Spirit speaks to the crowd. When a lame beggar asks for alms, Peter said, “No, legs,” lifts him to his feet and heals him in Jesus’ name. But the down side was to return, Paul and Peter were to have an arguement about living by Jewish ritual when Traditional Christians, who at that time would have still used the rituals, were around. Peter the risk taker retreats into what is safe.
Despite his personality but because of his faith Peter was chosen by Jesus and called a rock. Despite his denial, Jesus after the resurrection re commissions Peter in the evangelistic and pastoral mission that will be his life from that time on.
Jesus can work through a person’s personality, even one flawed like Peter’s. It is the same wit you and I. If we let Jesus control our lives Jesus will use us. Through our own diverse personalities, we will still be ourselves, Jesus want people, not clones, so there will still be tensions between us. But our job is to live as a community with Jesus in us.