Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
The Renewal Project
Peter is so transparently human. We don’t know whether to laugh at him, banish him as an embarrassment or just enjoy his childlike antics. He’s always impulsively asking questions, making presumptuous demands or promising the moon. His heart seems to be right, but his character is appallingly weak. His follow-through is just atrocious.
Here he is pledging his life to Jesus (again) without understanding what this might mean. When all the other disciples are fearful and cautious, Peter steps up with this naïve declaration. He’s often the first to speak (even before he thinks!) and always sounds so sure of himself. He’s enjoying this moment and the spotlight on his verbal bravado. We all know he will fail miserably as this fateful night unfolds.
Jesus is arrested, convicted and goes to the cross. Peter runs away and plays it safe, hanging out at the edge of the crowd — at the edge of panic. He denies he even knows Him, when people recognize his familiar face and Galilean accent. Three times he denies Him! What happened to “I am ready to die for You?!” Some champion!
At dinner that night, a couple of hours earlier, Jesus had shocked Peter with the warning that the devil was coming after him. Jesus knows Peter very well, loves him still, and doesn’t give up on him even after his total meltdown and humiliation. This was a bad Friday for Peter, but God is determined to salvage and rebuild this broken-down man. He sends His Son to the Cross to forgive and redeem fallen humanity, such as Peter, who more than once played the fool and the coward…such as me…such as you.
Lord, we have failed again and again, publicly and privately…You know! Yet You invite us to restore our relationship with You, based on Your victory, which now becomes ours, in Christ. It’s our second chance, even though we thought it was too late. We are overjoyed and forever grateful!