I Don’t Know the Man
In Matthew’s account he’s the first man Jesus called to follow Him to fish for men (Matthew 4:18). When Jesus named His Twelve, he was number one on the list (Matthew 10:2). When Jesus walked on the water, he jumped overboard and walked toward Jesus (Matthew 14:28ff). When Jesus asked about His identity, he was the student who got it right, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus said that this accurate testimony would be the foundation of His Church (Matthew 16:19). This lead disciple saw Jesus transfigured (Matthew 17:4) and paid the Roman tax with a coin from a fish’s mouth (Matthew 17:25ff). He asked Jesus the question about how many times to forgive and learned from Jesus that if you were counting you were not forgiving (Matthew 16:21ff). He questioned whether it would be worth it to give up everything to follow Jesus and Jesus assured him that it was (Matthew 19:27ff). But he was also the disciple who tried to get Jesus to turn away from the cross (Matthew 16:22), and he arrogantly proclaimed at the Last Supper, “Even if all the other disciples turn away, I will not” (Matthew 26:33). He was wrong.
Instead of staying alert and praying in Gethsemane, he fell asleep (Matthew 26:40). When Jesus was seized, he tried to fight and then ran away. From a safe distance he followed the priest’s posse and then took a seat with the guards in the courtyard of Caiaphas during Jesus first interrogation (Matthew 26:58). Then Matthew tells us about Peter’s worst hour.
She was only a servant girl. He was a robust Galilean fisherman, but when she said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean!” he panicked, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He moved farther away from Jesus to the gate of the courtyard. Another servant girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This guy was with Jesus of Nazareth!” Peter cussed and said, “I don’t know the man.” A short time later, those standing around with him said, “Certainly you’re one of them. Your accent is a dead give-away!” Peter exploded. He cursed and swore, “I don’t know the man!” Then the rooster crowed, and Peter remembered Jesus’ prophecy about his denial at the Last Supper. This time there were no prideful protests, only bitter weeping as he went outside.
I’ve heard this account of Peter’s denial of Jesus since I was a kid so it’s easy to jump too quickly to his restoration. I need to stop and let Matthew tell me the story. In the text I don’t know yet how things will turn out. In the next scene Judas will weep like Peter only his tears will lead him to self-destruction. In my pastoring I’ve seen Peter’s tears and Judas’s tears. From the outside they look the same. Only the events that follow reveal whether the tears are remorse that lead farther away from Jesus or tears of repentance that signal a return.
LORD, if Peter, your lead disciple, could fail under pressure and deny You, so can I. Help me not to be ashamed in public to admit that I am with You, that I know You. Use Mary and me through Truth Encounter to encourage many brothers and sisters to boldly confess in the market place this week that an intimate relationship with You is their greatest treasure and to share with others how they too can have You call their heart your address.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.