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.
Peter and Jesus were close friends. The gospel writers make this fact clear. Peter’s grand gestures of loyalty and trust in Jesus have been clearly displayed. And yet, here is Peter in the Garden, put to the test, and he denies his allegiance to Jesus. It was easy for Peter to align himself with Jesus when there was something to gain, and not so easy when there was something to lose.
We all understand betrayal – it’s an unfortunately common human experience. We’ve all most likely also been the betrayer – whether it was a blatant betrayal of a friend or a loved one, or a subtle betrayal of an ideal, an ethic, or the Gospel message itself. In what ways have you been betrayed? In what ways have you been the betrayer? Spend some time talking with God about this – seeking healing for past hurt and forgiveness for past wrongs.
Lord Jesus, as Peter betrayed you, you experienced the double agony of love rejected and friendship denied: be with those who know no friends and are rejected by society. You understood the fear within Peter: help us to understand the anxieties of those who fear for their future. To you, Jesus, who gazed with sadness at your lost friend, be honor and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.