Peter's Denial

(Matthew 26:69-75 ESV) [69 ] 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.” [70 ] But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” [71 ] 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.” [72 ] And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” [73 ] After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” [74 ] Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. [75 ] And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

This painting by Louis Le Nain from the 17th century is on display in the Louvre Musuem in Paris. It is worth $16.5 million! It is difficult to comprehend someone would pay so much for this painting. What facinates me about the painting is the detail expression on Peter’s face.  Just a few verses back (Matthew 26:33-35), Peter was confident that he would never deny Jesus. here is what he said, ” though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away (vs33), even if I must die with you, I will not deny you! (vs 35)”.   Here is a commentary from John MacArthur on Peter:

If you are not really trusting in God at every moment, you will get shot down when you least expect it. You will get the kind of self-confidence that says, “I can handle this. I’m looking forward to this. So, Peter wasn’t ready for the one little thing that really tore him up, and there he fell — dropped by a door girl. Gone were all of his heroic promises to Jesus, gone was all the courage in his heart, gone was all of his fleshly self-confidence. He was just a great big nothing. He was an arrogant coward — unable to confess his Lord and cringing in lying denial. If you are able to face the formal challenges when you can choose your weapons and plan your strategy, you are fortunate. But watch out for the sudden blows when you’re not ready — when you’re trusting in the flesh. They are the ones that will cause you to fail. It is interesting to note that when Jesus rescued Peter in the Garden, He did so quickly. But on this occasion, Jesus let him hit bottom and bounce a few times. He had to let Peter get hurt in order to teach him the tremendous lesson he needed to learn.

We all have a “Peter” in us. 1. We are confident in our flesh and not in God (Matthew 26:35) but we should know that, as long as we are in the flesh, we will arouse the sinful nature within us (Romans 7:5). Do you know that we have nothing that is good that dwell in us? (Romans 7:18)  Jesus told his diciples to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation because the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)” 2. And we are boastful and arrogant, just like Peter. Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “what do you have that you did not receive?” James 4:13-16 says “[13 ] …..“Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— [14 ] yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. [15 ] Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” [16 ] As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” Are you trusting in your flesh or are you trusting in God?


About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

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