Simon Peter walked in the physical and spiritual presence of Christ for three years. Just imagine that! It is offered to us as believers and followers of Christ to be in His presence, and that is a great and wonderful thing, but think of walking with Him as your best friend every day for three years. When you spend your life in the presence of one who only does good and gives love without measure, you come to love and respect them like no one else. So, what Peter felt for Christ had to be immense. How could it not be? And yet, Peter denied even knowing Him when the fire got too hot for him to handle,...and not just once, but three times. Matthew 26:58 says that Peter followed "afar off unto the high priest's palace" which I'm thinking means that Peter followed along with the proceedings at a distance so as not to incriminate himself. His purpose, according to scripture, was "to see the end".
I have friends that I have had for many years (20 years or more). We have spent those years loving each other, building each other up, suffering with each other through trials, laughing, crying, we've done it all, and I know that without those special friends, I wouldn't have come through those trials in the mostly normal condition that I have. Christ wants our walk with Him to be like that. He wants us to know Him intimately and even though He knows all and sees all, He still wants us to be vulnerable to Him; to open ourselves up to Him and let all our innermost feelings be poured out to Him.
What if you could look upon the face of Christ each day as you walked with Him, while he taught you, loved, you, laughed with you, cried with you? Wouldn't that add another dimension to your relationship with Him? Of course it would! Why do we look forward to being in Heaven so much? ....to be with Him, face to face!!! Peter got to experience that relationship full force in his human body. Because of his great love for and friendship with Jesus, Peter had to be distraught when the soldiers, Judas and the sanhedrin showed up in the garden that night. Scriptures show that the disciples never quite got what Jesus was talking about when He told them he must suffer, die and rise again. So, let's try to imagine what Peter was going through as Jesus was taken away, questioned, beaten, spit upon, and mocked.
In today's terminology, we could say that Peter was "lurking" in the background, trying to hear what was said and done, watching in horror, while his teacher and friend, (who was silent) was being accused falsely of so many things by so many different people; knowing that the sanhedrin were trying desperately to find two people who would have the same accusation so they could try Him. The Bible tells us that in order to be accused of a crime, there had to be two witnesses (Deut. 19:15). Finally, it happens, two witnesses are found who claim that Jesus said He could destroy the temple and build it up again in three days.
Peter stands in the shadows watching, feeling sick to his stomach, nervous, anxious, afraid, uncertain of what was to come next; then seeing them spit in Jesus face, beating him with their hands and fists and rods. Peter takes a seat because he's feeling so weak and sick that he has to sit down or he'll fall..., he's shaking and weary because it's the middle of the night and suddenly he's confronted by a young woman as being with Jesus, and before he knows it, out slips the words, "I know not what thou sayest". He gets up and goes outside and lo and behold, another young woman says hey, you were with Jesus, weren't you? This time, Peter denied it and swore (even though his teacher had warned against swearing oaths) that he did not know the man, Jesus. One last time, Peter is confronted by a group of men that he must be one of Jesus' followers simply because of the way he spoke. Peter, scared out of his wits, begins swearing and calling down curses on them and denied Christ just as the rooster crowed.
Picture it: Peter is lurking on the edge so as not to be a part of the group, but still he is accused of being a follower of Jesus, he denies Christ three times as the cock crows and there in the middle of the crowd is Jesus who turns and looks at Peter. Maybe Jesus caught Peter's eye and perhaps Jesus lifted one of his eyebrows, it seems appropriate, doesn it? I know that if I had been Peter, my heart would have broken, I would have felt so much shame and disgust with myself, and I too, would have wept bitterly. As a matter of fact, as I read this account, I did weep. I wept for Peter, I wept for Jesus and I wept because the spirit of the Lord revealed to me that but for His grace and mercy, I too, could deny Him.
We don't know what we're going to face in this world before we die. It could be anything and most certainly, with the way things are going, we could be asked to deny knowing Christ. I know I'm weak in so many areas of my walk. Lord, my prayer today is that You will enable me to stand against anyone and anything who asks me to deny You. Further, Lord Jesus, I pray for your body, my brothers and sisters. We need a fresh indwelling of your holy spirit. We need our faith to be strengthened and we need to be ready and willing to be and do all that you ask of us. We need to love you more and ourselves less. Give us hearts that are pure and hands that are clean. Instill a desire within us share your gospel - the true gospel - not just when we are at religous functions, but to one and all that we come in contact with. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus' name I pray...