“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.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 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.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:69-75 ESV
“And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:66-72 ESV
“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:54-62 ESV
“Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard 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 rooster crowed.” John 18: 15-18; 25-27 ESV
Just a few hours earlier, when Jesus predicted his denial, Peter insists he would never betray His friend. Simon Peter is adamant he would proclaim his loyalty at all cost, even unto death.
As he sits warming himself by a fire inside the courtyard of the high priest after Jesus has been arrested, he is questioned if he knows Him. And without hesitation, in a moment of self-preservation, Peter denies he knows Jesus.
And again, twice more he is asked if he is associated with Jesus, and each time fear grips Peter and he denies his deep relationship with Christ.
As the final denial trails from Peter’s lips a rooster crows and Jesus lifts His eyes to find Peter’s, piercing his soul with sadness as the truth of the Master’s words echo in his heart – “you will deny Me.”
Peter was so sure he wasn’t that person – one to deny the deep love he had for his friend. And yet here he stood, looking into the eyes of the One he loved, having denied Him. It was more than Peter could bear and he ran away and wept bitterly.
In those brief moments of denial Peter didn’t calculate his answer, he didn’t plan to deny Christ, he was simply afraid of what would happen to him if he professed his relationship with Jesus.
Like Peter, we don’t intend to deny Christ in our life. We profess our love for God and our relationship with Christ, but when fear grips us deep to our core do we deny His sovereignty over our situation by allowing fear to choke out belief?
When it isn’t popular to take a stand for Christ, will we rise up and proclaim His name anyway?
There may even come a day when faith is tested by death – whether because of illness, accident, or even threat of violence. Will we willingly face down the threat to proclaim our love for Jesus?
As society rages against us, will we stand firm in our faith?
Jesus, help me to be faithful to You as You have been faithful to me. Give me the strength to proclaim Your name when it isn’t popular, comfortable, or acceptable. Lord, help me to not fear what may happen if I stand for my faith. Give me the boldness to know You will protect me and keep me close to You. Father, I pray You bless Your children. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.