LUKE 22: 31-34; 39-62
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.
51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”
Peter Denies Jesus
54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”
57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”
“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 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.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
- Today we get some deep revelations into the humanity of Jesus and the fallibility of His disciples. Jesus is suffering profoundly, asking His Father to change the plan if possible and sad that even His closest friends will not stick with Him. One of these friends betrays Him and another denies Him, while most of the others take off, afraid. They fall asleep when asked to stay awake to pray and they pull out swords in their confusion, with blundering Peter even slicing off an ear of a bystanding slave. Had they listened to nothing Jesus had taught them?
These guys REALLY screwed up! The people who had the most personal, closest time with our Savior still got things wrong. Really wrong. Yet, Jesus knows this and even expects this when He says to Peter: “So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Have you ever thought that you were too big of a screw-up to be called a follower of Jesus? Think of the most embarrassing or sinful thing you have ever done and then think of Peter in the scriptures above. Be assured that you are no worse than he was and repentance can be yours also.
- Take time to reflect on where you have broken your promises to the Lord or fallen short of His expectations for your life. Confess your sins to the Lord. Accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers and make a turn into a new life.
Just as Peter went on to preach and lead and serve and heal people in the name of Jesus, know that the Lord has good plans ahead for you.