At What Cost? – by Zack Fugate
“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.”-Mark 14:66-68
We all can remember a time when a still small voice inside of us said, “That probably isn’t a good idea. You know there is a better choice.” I am sure that we can also equally recall times when we chose not to listen to that voice yet wished we had listened after the fact. Take a moment to place yourself in Peter’s shoes. Imagine what type of fear and emotions you would have to experience to push you far enough to deny knowing your best friend. But to Peter, Jesus was so much more. However, standing there, after Jesus’ arrest, Peter did just that. After witnessing miracles, having conversations, and having the Son of God wash his very feet, Peter denied knowing him. In fact, in verses 68-71, scriptures reveal to us that Peter denied knowing Christ three separate times. To understand the weight of such a choice, Luke shares the following ending of this very act of Peter’s:
“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”-Luke 22:61-62
Brothers and sisters, I do not know about you, but my heart breaks at the weight of the pain that Peter must have felt in that moment. You see; Peter knew what Jesus was about to endure. Christ had revealed to his disciples that he would be crucified and Peter had remained in denial. While it is not directly discussed in scriptures, one could fathom that this was the very moment that Peter finally understood the details of Christ’s prediction of his own death. And what was Peter’s lasting impression, at this moment it was the very denial of being affiliated with his Lord and Savior. Quite honestly, it may even be easy for you and me to stand back and think, “Boy, what Peter did was awful. I would never do that.” I encourage you to stifle such thoughts and recognize that if we aren’t currently walking with Christ and pursuing a relationship with him as our savior, then we find ourselves standing right next to Peter that night. To take it even further, how many of you who would consider yourselves as ‘followers of Christ’ have ignored an opportunity to talk to a stranger, a friend, a co-worker, or even a family member about Christ and the cross for fear of offending, fear of judgment, or even fear of losing earthly acceptance. Please understand, you too would have been there with Peter that night.
The truth, however, does not end there. It didn’t end there for Peter and it doesn’t end there for us either. The truth is that Jesus was crucified on a cross to cover the cost of our sins. His love and sacrifice atones for even the worst of denials and his grace is abounding. I imagine the days that followed for Peter. Did he tell his fellow disciples of his denial? Did he weep every night wishing he could have one more chance to hear Christ’s voice and apologize for his denial and weakness? Brothers and sisters Peter had no idea about the incredible love and demonstration of forgiveness that he was about to experience. Not only did Peter see Christ again, but Paul also reveals in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus’ grace was far greater than Peter could ever imagine:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” -1 Corinthians 15: 3-5
Here, Paul refers to Peter as Cephas, which means that the first person to whom Jesus revealed himself after his resurrection was Peter! While scripture does not describe that interaction, just imagine the joyous weeping and overwhelming feeling that Peter must have experienced through Jesus’ grace in that moment…the beauty is that we don’t have to imagine it because we can live it. The very same grace and forgiveness that Peter experienced on that incredible occasion is available to every man, woman, and child.
Please be praying with me that we would seek to draw closer to Jesus each and every day; that we would continue to work out our salvation and stand in awe of the very grace, love, and forgiveness that our relationship with him offers.
Your brother in Christ,