[Listen to the sound file while you read — two inches to the right of this line on this page, marked “Aubre’s Gift”]
A Morning Devotion for Tuesday of Holy Week
Preparing our hearts for Good Friday and Easter
The Savior is abandoned by the disciples and denied by Peter.
Adapted from the accounts of
Mt 26:55-56, 69-75; Mk 14:66-72; Lk 22:54-62
Abandoned and denied.
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,
“Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture Me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. This is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
They seized Him and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest’s house, and Peter followed at a distance.
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard below, and the crowd had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard where Peter was sitting. A servant girl of the high priest, seeing him warming himself, came up and said,
“You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
But he denied it before them all, saying,
“I neither know nor understand 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. He is one of them.”
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 Galilean accent betrays you.”
Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear,
“I do not know the man.”
And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the saying of Jesus,
“Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
And he went out and wept bitterly.
Ancient courtyards could be dark and dangerous places. Anxiety and fear traveled together in the courtyards of power of the Roman Empire.
Less than twelve hours before, Peter declared that even if all abandoned Jesus, he would remain, though it cost him his own life. But Jesus had unmasked Peter’s bravado.
“Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (John 13:38)
Three times, Peter was linked to Jesus.
Three times he denied knowing Him.
He denied knowing the One who in those very moments was walking toward the cross upon which Peter’s sins would be atoned—yours too.
The third time was the worst. Peter was in the courtyard outside where Jesus was being tried. For a third time he denied knowing Jesus and then Jesus, from inside the high priest’s house, looked at Peter. Can you imagine Peter’s despair? He had proclaimed that he would die before he turned his back on the Master. Now the Master is looking at him after his third denial.
Peter remembered the Lord’s words.
“And he went out and wept bitterly.”
You weren’t there. You don’t know what you would have done under similar circumstances. But you have been in places that weren’t dark or dangerous and still you denied the Savior. Maybe it was a grocery store, or a classroom, or a school yard, or a restaurant, or your son’s ballgame. Somebody defamed the name of Christ, and you said nothing to claim Him as your own.
“Lord Jesus, it is so easy for me to point the finger at Peter or anyone else, but I have failed You in so many ways myself. Thank You for knowing all my sin and loving me anyway. Help me to walk into and out of the alleys of life and away from the fear of men. Help me to live for an audience of One all the days of my life. In Your name I ask this. Amen.”
An excerpt from Experience the Passion of Christ, by Marty Schoenleber, Jr.