How could Peter deny that he knew Jesus?

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After Jesus was arrested, Peter followed Him to the courtyard of the high priest. Peter stood at the entrance where there was a company sitting around a fire (Matthew 26:69). He did not wish to be recognized as a disciple of Jesus. But the woman who kept the door noticed that he came in with John and thought that he might be a disciple of Jesus. So, she said to him, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee” (Matthew 26:69). Peter pretended not to understand her; but she was persistent, and said to those around her that this man was with Jesus. Sadly, Peter “denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying” (v.70). This was the first denial, and immediately the cock crew.

When Peter tried to conceal his identity, he placed himself on the enemy’s ground, and he became an easy prey to temptation. People noticed that he was saddened by the abuse that Jesus was experiencing. Attention was called to him the second time, and he was again charged with being a follower of Jesus. At this point, he declared with an oath, “I do not know the Man” (v. 72).

After an hour, one of the servants of the high priest, being a near kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked him, “Did not I see thee in the garden with Him?” “And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it” (Mark 14:70). This time, Peter denied his Master with cursing and swearing. Again the cock crew. Peter heard it then, and he remembered the words of Jesus, “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice” (Mark 14:30).

Jesus gave His disciple a look of deep pity and sorrow. That look of compassion and forgiveness, tore Peter’s heart. And he remembered his promise of a few short hours before that he would go with his Lord to prison and to death. Peter remembered Jesus’ tender words, “Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31, 32).

Peter recalled Jesus’ solemn charge, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). It was in sleeping when Jesus asked him to watch and pray that Peter prepared the way for his sin. Had those hours in the garden been spent in watching and prayer, Peter would not have been left to depend upon his own strength to overcome. And he would not have denied his Lord.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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