‘You will all fall away,’ Jesus told them, ‘for it is written: ‘ “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’ Peter declared, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’ ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘today – yes, tonight – before the cock crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.’ But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.
Then everyone deserted him and fled.
Mark 14:27-31, 50 (NIV)
It is very easy to focus on Peter’s denial of Jesus and to think that in the same circumstances we would be strong enough not to deny him.
When Jesus mentioned the prospect of the disciples falling away, Peter was quick to jump in and say that even if faced with death he would not deny Jesus. We all know the story and if we read on in Mark 14:66-72 we see that Peter did in fact deny Jesus.
However, let’s not forget that at least Peter was there. He stayed as close to Jesus as he dared. He was obviously afraid and when confronted by the servant girl and others, he denied that he knew Jesus.
Look again at the verses from Mark 14 quoted above. Notice that not only did Peter insist that he would not deny Jesus, the rest of the disciples said the same. Yet in verse 50 we read that after Jesus’ arrest: ‘… everyone deserted him and fled’.
Thankfully the gospel story doesn’t end at denial. Peter and the other ten disciples were able to receive forgiveness from the risen Jesus and to accept their commission to spread the gospel throughout the world.
Have you had times of denial? Thankfully that doesn’t need to be the end of the story for you. The offer of forgiveness is there for you to accept. If the apostles were able to receive forgiveness for their denial, so can you. If they were able to be changed from weak fearful followers of Jesus into those who boldly proclaimed the gospel, so can you too.
[Archives – click on the icon at the top of the page]