Most everyone who is familiar with the story of Jesus is also familiar with Peter’s denial of Jesus, even after promising he would be willing to die for Him.
And our hearts break, both for Jesus and for Peter as we read the conclusion of the story found in Luke 22:
Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.(Luke 22:60-62, NLT)
How that must have hurt Jesus. And how that must of have crushed Peter – he did really love the Lord.
We don’t pay as much attention to the beginning of the story:
So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”(Luke 22:54-56, NLT)
Peter had been a follower of Jesus for three and a half years. His life had changed enough so it was obvious he was not one of the crowd he was trying to fit in with. The servant girl finally figured out what it was and called him out.
Peter had a choice to make. He could acknowledge it and witness to what Jesus was really like, telling what he knew to be true about Him. But, he chose to continue trying to live the deception and said:
“Woman … I don’t even know him!”(Luke 22:57, NLT)
And, what an opportunity lost.
What do we – and those around us – lose because we’re afraid to speak up about the love and grace of Jesus?