DENIAL AND DESPAIR
(see also Matthew 25:69-75,
Mark 14:66-72, and John 18:25-27)
Luke 22:55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
Susie: It sounds odd to have a fire in the middle of a hall, but the room would have been an open courtyard in the middle of the large house. It would have been unusual to need a fire at the time of the Passover, but it must have been chilly this particular night.
Susan: John and Peter had followed, as Matthew said, “to see the end” or as some translations say, “to see the outcome” (Matthew 26:58). It was beyond their capacity to accept Jesus’s prophesy that He was to die. Perhaps they hoped to witness a different outcome than He had predicted. Their hearts and minds could not perceive the purpose for which Jesus came, the price He must pay for their and our redemption.
Susie: Peter and John were not cognizant of it at the time, but the Holy Spirit placed them in the position to give eye-witness accounts of Jesus’s trial, not only to the other disciples, but for us in the written word. John had apparently gone on inside while Peter waited around the fire in the courtyard.
Luke 22:56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
Susie: Some commentators believe this maid may have been the one who granted entrance to Peter and John because John was a familiar face at the High Priest’s home.
Susan: The girl studied Peter’s face closely in the dim firelight to make sure that her identification of him as one of Jesus’s followers was accurate.
Luke 22:57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
Susie: Peter did not believe it when Jesus told him that he would deny knowing Him that very night, but now he found himself doing that very thing.
Susan: Peter didn’t just deny being a disciple. Instead he claimed he did not know Jesus, had no acquaintance with Jesus at all!
Luke 22:58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
Susie: Then another person stated that Peter was one of Jesus’s group of followers, but he denied that as well. Matthew adds the detail that he even swore an oath:
Matthew 26:71-72 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
Susan: Peter emphatically presented the lie that he did not know or follow Jesus as a fact, supporting it with an oath.
Luke 22:59 And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.
Susie: The next person who accused Peter of being one of Jesus’s follows supported his claim with the evidence that Peter’s Galilean accent gave him away.
Luke 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
Susan: Peter denied knowing Jesus once more saying in essence, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” In that exact moment, the rooster crowed, sounding in Peter’s ears as if the bird had cried, “LIAR!” It’s pretty awful when an animal calls you out on your sin.
Susie: Peter’s guilt at that moment must have felt like a building had fallen on him.
Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Susan: Jesus, who was probably being paraded through the courtyard to be abused by the guards, intentionally and intently gazed directly at Peter.
Susie: Peter remembered the Lord’s prediction earlier that evening that he would deny His Master three times before the rooster announced the morning.
Luke 22:62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Susan: Jesus’s previous words seared deeply into Peter’s heart causing the brash, brawny fisherman to dissolve into violent, convulsive sobs.
Ponder this and Apply it: Peter had seen himself as one who would defend the Lord Jesus to the death—bold, brave, and fearless. Now here he is, afraid to even admit knowing Jesus, let alone being one of His closest disciples. We must remember that Peter did not yet have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to hold him up at this moment. We must also remember this is not the end of Peter’s story. Jesus not only forgave Peter but raised him up to be a leader of the early church. We, too, may have moments of failure in our walks with the Lord; but when we are convicted by the Holy Spirit as Peter was convicted by Jesus’s gaze, we can repent and be restored because our Master’s love for us remains sure even when our own faith flounders.
2 Timothy 2:13 (TPT) But even if we are faithless, he will still be full of faith, for he never wavers in his faithfulness to us!