Matthew’s Passion: Denial
40 blogs of Lent: 24
Denial is engraved in our society. Insurance companies will tell you not to accept responsibility in an accident, even if you know you were at fault. You may be in breach of your insurance conditions if you do. In extreme conditions they may ask you to lie. When accused we say, “it wasn’t me,” even when we know full well that it was.
The temptation to do this is strong, I do not always resist it and I don’t expect anyone else to either. It’s all part of being human. I do not blame Peter for the way he acted in the passage I am looking at either.
How do you recover from denying Jesus?
Peter was brave. All the other disciples had left. John’s gospel showed that John had gone nearly this far, but Peter was the one who was bravest. If anything we should be commending his bravery. Be even brave Peter caved in. Three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus.
To be fair Peter’s life was on the line. They had taken Jesus away to a mockery of a trial and he could have been next. We fail for simply not wanting to be ridiculed or for fear of being seen as odd. How do we recover when we deny Jesus. Because we will. I will. You will. Even that great Christian pastor you look up to will, and has, at some point in his life, denied Jesus. Denying Jesus is something universal to Christians. How do we recover when we do?
That is why this passage from Matthew’s passion is important. Jesus knows. Jesus knows we are going to fail him, just as he knew that he was going to be betrayed by Judas. Just as he knew his followers would desert him. Just as he knew that Peter would deny knowing him. Jesus prayed for them. Jesus understood them. Jesus met with them (except for Judas) after he was resurrected. Jesus did not bear a grudge, but accepted those who turned to him. Turn back to Jesus and he will also accept you. Jesus understands.
Jesus loves you and Jesus is in control. Jesus, not the Temple guards, was in control at his arrest. Jesus, not the Sanhedrin, was in control at the trial. Jesus is in control now and wants to accept you back and give you another chance, and another one. Jesus is in control and our failings cannot thwart his plan.
Some readers of this blog may like to follow the Bible passage: Here it is.
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the cock crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26 ESVUK
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.