Summary: Peter denied Jesus just as he predicted. Perhaps we should not judge to sternly.
Pathway To The Passion
Part 3-Peters Denial
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
27 “All of you will desert me,” Jesus told them. “For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
29 Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
30 “Peter,” Jesus replied, “the truth is, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
31 “No!” Peter insisted. “Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
The original Hebrew word in the Bible that was used to describe the disciples desertion is
kaÆshal, kaw-shal’; to totter or waver ; to falter, stumble, faint or fall:— utterly, be weak.
James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
You can imagine Peters bold voice saying “no I won’t”, but Jesus goes 1 step further with Peter.
Jesus makes 3 specific statements to Peter
1-He will deny him.
2-It will be that very night
3-He will do it 3 times before the rooster crows
Let’s look at the “rooster crow”
The sound would not have actually been the sound of a rooster crowing.
There was a Jewish law that is was illegal to keep roosters and hens in the Holy City because they defied holy things.
The hour of 3am is when the Roman soldiers had the changing of the guard.
The signal for the changing of the guard at 3am was a trumpet call. The Latin word for trumpet call is “gallicinium” which means “rooster crow”.
The trumpet porbably would have been blown twice in opposite directions so that all guards could hear the signal.
Peter therefore made his 3rd denial before the changing of the guard at 3 am.
The Roman night was divided into 4 three hour watches
Jesus had predicted that all his followers would run away. Why would they flee?
-fear of being arrested
-fear of being killed
-fear for their families
It takes courage to stand firm in your faith when faced with opposition or danger.
The courage of Civil War leader Stonewall Jackson in the midst of conflict can be a lesson for the believer. Historian Mark Brimsley wrote,
“A battlefield is a deadly place, even for generals; and it would be naive to suppose Jackson never felt the animal fear of all beings exposed to wounds and death. but invariably he displayed extraordinary calm under fire, a calm too deep and masterful to be mere pretense. His apparent obliviousness to danger attracted notice, and after the First Manassas battle someone asked him how he managed it. “My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed,” Jackson explained. ‘God knows the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter where it may overtake me.’ He added pointedly, ‘That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.’“
How many of us have denied or ran away from Jesus when fear or doubt overcame our faith?
Doubt sees the obstacles;
Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night;
Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step;
Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions, "Who believes?"
Faith answers, "I Do!"
How many have stepped back from faith?
On the Australian coat of arms is a picture of a emu and a kangaroo. These animals were chosen because they share a characteristic that appealed to the Australian forefathers. Both the emu and kangaroo can move only forward, not back. The emu’s three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards, and the kangaroo is prevented from moving in reverse by its large tail. Those who truly choose to follow Jesus become like the emu and kangaroo, moving only forward, never back
We can never step back from our faith or trust in Jesus because of fear.
Even though he was afraid, Peter stayed close to Jesus from afar perhaps to see what was going to happen to him.
Jesus before the Council
53 Jesus was led to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, other leaders, and teachers of religious law had gathered. 54 Meanwhile, Peter followed far behind and then slipped inside the gates of the high priest’s courtyard. For a while he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
Peter watched as Jesus was spit on, slapped, mocked, and beaten.
Perhaps struggling with his fear versus his faith. The words that Jesus spoke to him about his denial had to be echoing in his mind and in his soul.