Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
We often speak negatively about Peter’s denying Jesus in His hour of need. Yet, believers often deny Jesus in their daily lives.
What causes denial?
- Following “afar off.” Not focusing on Jesus, not identifying with Him, not having our mind fixed on Him.
- Sitting “down among them.” Following Jesus from a distance will lead us to become involved with sin.
2 Corinthians 6:17-18; 7:1 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
Holiness – “hagiosune” – “the process, quality and condition of a holy disposition and the quality of holiness in personal conduct. It is the principle that separates the believer from the world. Hagiosune consecrates us to God’s service both in moral dedication and life committed to purity. It causes every component of our character to stand God’s inspection and meet His approval.”
Denial of pretense – Pretending not to know Jesus
The servant girl “looked intently” at Peter. There appeared to be no imminent threat to Peter. The servants were just standing around talking about the events of the evening. Perhaps they were curious to know more about Jesus. If he had acknowledged that he was a disciple of Jesus to this crowd, probably all he would have experienced was some mockery. Of course, there always was some danger of being persecuted also, but probably in this crowd it would have only led to ridicule. This may have been an excellence chance for Peter to tell them about Jesus. Perhaps someone in the crowd would have believed in Him.
Matthew 10:33 – But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
1 Pete 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
Denial of discipleship – Denying that one is a committed follower of Jesus
When Peter was confronted with the words, “You are one of them,” he quickly stated, “I am not one of them.” At this point, he is not just denying Jesus, he is denying that he is one of those who “followed” Him.
Mark 8:38 – For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
2 Timothy 1:8 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Denial of ignorance – Claiming to know nothing of what is being said, to know nothing about the Bible or its truths
Peter’s final claim was “I do not know what you are saying.”
Answer to denial
- Remember the Lord’s Word
- Spend time alone with the Lord
- Truly repent
- I have (or have never) denied Jesus by my words or actions.
- I have (or have never) denied that I was a Christian or went to church.
- I have (or have never) pretended that I did not know what people were talking about when the Bible or its truths were discussed.
- I have (or have never) denied Jesus by remaining silent when I should have spoken up.
- I have truly and sorrowfully repented of those times that I denied Jesus.
- I have determined to never again deny Him.