Peter replied, ‘Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.’ ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘this very night, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the other disciples said the same.
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’ Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:33-35, 73-75 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 26
Consider: Matthew 26 records a low point in Peter’s discipleship with Jesus. Peter declares his unfailing loyalty to Jesus, saying that even if he had to die with Jesus, he wouldn’t desert him. When he said this he probably meant it and he would have been encouraged by all the other disciples saying the same. You can almost detect the macho attitude amongst the disciples.
However, within a few hours the disciples would have fled in the face of Jesus’ arrest. Reading the account in Matthew 26 you are probably struck by the fact that Peter is seen skulking in the shadows and, when confronted by two servant girls and the crowd, he denies Jesus three times.
Thankfully this is not the end for Peter, as he goes on to become a significant leader in the early church.
There are many people who go through life with a heavy burden of guilt for things that have happened in the past. This can perhaps keep them away from God, in the belief that they have done too many bad things for God to forgive. Alternatively, even for a Christian, it can sometimes pull them away from having a close relationship with God, as they allow their sense of guilt to cloud that relationship.
Peter’s story clearly shows that God is a God of second chances. The offer of God’s forgiveness is made time and again and God is faithful in the face of our unfaithfulness.
Pray: Father, we thank you that you are a God of second chances and your offer of forgiveness is not withdrawn in the face of our failing you. Give us courage to stand firm for you. Amen