(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. (57) And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. (58) And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.Luke 22:56-60
(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. (60) And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.
Peter had kept a distance from Jesus and covertly used the darkness to avoid any problems. Now next to the fire he begins to get the scrutiny of those who were siding with the religious leaders against Christ. Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny him, and that must have shocked Peter.
And yet here is, shortly after being willing to take on a whole garrison of soldiers, and he is scared of being pointed out by “a certain maid”.
Have you ever felt passionately about something and then felt differently about it not that much later?
I know I have.
Paul expressed it this way:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.Romans 7:19
Have you felt that way? What I want to do, I don’t do. Sometimes the thing I don’t want to do, I end up doing! And then I feel like what Paul says later in that same passage.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?Romans 7:24
Overconfidence and disbelief had lead to distance. Distance here was giving birth to denial.
What risks are involved in following Jesus closely and unreservedly? When have you felt tempted to keep your Christianity “under the radar?”
How can you see Peter’s fear reflected in some believers today? What is the danger of being afraid to identify with Christ?