Summary: Peter has witnessed ALL the miracles which Jesus performed. He even PROMISED to DIE for Christ and NEVER to leave Him. Yet, when Jesus needed him MOST, he denied his Lord. Nevertheless, he was forgiven and became a CHANGED man, ready to die for Christ.
Matthew 26:74 Peter began to curse and swear: "I don't KNOW that man!"
John 21:17 "...Lord, you know EVERYTHING. You KNOW that I love you."
We as Christians in THIS day and age, have NEVER seen Jesus Christ before,OR witnessed the miracles He performed.We have NEVER accompanied Him on the dust roads of the Middle East OR heard Him preaching.WE follow, serve and love Him by faith.
SIMON however,was in a VERY personal relationship with Christ.He LIVED with Him,ate and drank with Him,sacrificed his FREEDOM to follow Him,Fled with Him when their lives were threatened BECAUSE of the gospel,seen with his very OWN eyes how He healed the sick,how He made the blind to see, the lame to walk,the deaf to hear,how he cast out demons and the MOST miraculous act that has EVER been WITNESSED before BY mankind,the resurrection of the dead.He SAW with his OWN eyes how Jesus took authority over death....took them BACK from the depth and the irreversible grip of the grave.HE of ALL the disciples of Christ,was the one who received the revelation from the spirit of God that Jesus was the son of God. The love that Simon felt for Jesus was SO intense,that he PROMISED Him that he would DIE for Him and would NEVER betray Him like Judas did.To PROVE his point, he CUT off the ear of the soldier Manchus, who arrested Jesus.He SAW how the soldiers pushed a crown of thorns into the flesh of his masters head,he saw the blood stained garment that was as a result of the flesh that was ripped off His back by the whip with sharp metal pieces tied to the end of the strands. He SAW the agony and suffering in the Lord's eyes. Yet,when it mattered MOST to confess his love for the Lord to the world, Simon failed and denied his Lord with the words:"I don't KNOW that man."
Nevertheless,unlike Judas who sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver and committed suicide afterwards, Peter found GRACE in the sight of Jesus. He CONFESSED his denial of his Lord. AFTER His Resurrection Jesus asked Peter: "Simon, son of John, do you love me MORE than the others do?" The OLD Peter would have replied WITHOUT proper thought:"Yes Lord, I love you MORE than ANYBODY who is present here." The Peter whose life was radically CHANGED by the love in Jesus' eyes AFTER he denied Him, answered the Lord's question with DEEP regret, conviction and love for his Master: "Lord, you know EVERYTHING. You KNOW that I love you.' After THIS confession, the Lord forgave Peter, and handed leadership of the church over to him.(John 21:15-17). True to his SECOND promise to Christ, Peter kept his word and DIED for his Lord by crucifixion in Rome, some time during Nero's reign in AD 64.
The vicious cycle of denial of Christ is still VERY active in today's Christian living, 2014 years later. We as Jesus' followers OFTEN find us in positions and situations,where we deny that we have accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour. Instead of bearing the fruit of the spirit as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23,our lives reflect the fruit of betrayal and denial as recorded in Galatians 19-20. MANY of us find it VERY convenient to live like sinners when we are in their presence...to walk like them,to talk like them and to behave like them.There's really NO difference between THEM and US at THAT moment.We lie,we cheat,we gossip,we steal,we fight,we commit adultery AND we take part in wild parties.SOME of us EVEN go to SUCH an extent to justify our denial of Jesus by saying that Christ ALSO ate,drank and lived with sinners.Yes,so He DID.HOWEVER,He did NOT do this to drop to THEIR level as sinners,but to save them from eternal condemnation and the fires of hell!! If HE did NOT enter THEIR sinful lives,THEY would NOT have entered HIS holy life,because sin BLINDED them to the truth.