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After being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives Jesus was interrogated first by Annas, the former high priest who still wielded the power of the office due to his respected age, and then by his son-in-law Caiaphas who was the acting high priest.  They were looking for, and had now found, grounds to have Him put to death by the Romans from both envy and fear that His teaching would undo their own power and rule.  At the first light of day they would convene a formal gathering of the Sanhedrin to present their foregone conclusions to be rubber-stamped and deliver Him up to Pilate to be put to death.  As this was happening Peter was facing a trial of his own in the courtyard of the high priest where he had followed with John to see what would happen, no doubt in hope of coming to His aid in some way according to his stated desire earlier that night.  But having neglected to watch and pray with Jesus, he was immediately caught off guard by an innocent question of the door maid if he too was one of Jesus’ disciples.  Not wishing to draw attention to himself because of what had just happened in the garden, he denied it, supposing it to be an innocent white lie to one of little importance.  But because Jesus had just been arrested and brought there, and he was with John, who was known by her to be a disciple of Jesus, and it was the middle of the night, and his Galilean accent identified him as both an outsider of Jerusalem and from the region where Jesus was known to come, his denial had the opposite effect and raised her suspicions so that along with the news of Jesus’ arrest he too became a subject of the workers’ conversations that night.  As a result, and as it is so often with a lie, he was then forced into additional and deeper lies of denial to try and cover it up, even to the point of cursing and swearing.  And it was exactly at this point that a rooster sounded a second time and Peter was pierced to the heart with a full realization that in spite of his stated desire to the contrary, he had by his own actions fulfilled Jesus’ word to him earlier that evening, so that he went out and wept bitterly.  See Mat 26:74-75.

Consider the specificity of Jesus’ prediction earlier that evening that on that very night before a rooster crowed twice Peter would three times deny Him (Mar 14:30), and then its exact fulfillment down to the very instant the cock crowed a second time while Peter was denying Him the third time; what does this event teach us about Jesus being more than a mere man and at the very least a prophet?  What does Luke add that also happened at that exact time, and with what result?  See Luke 22:61-62.  In what way then did this event result in a breaking of Peter’s spirit to a level of contriteness that was not previously found in his heart, so that as hard as it was, we might identify his denials after Christ’s prediction to him as what occasioned the godly sorrow that led him to a repentance of his own unworthiness and need to depend upon and obey Christ?  Cf. 2Co 7:8-10.  In what way did that brokenness fit him with the humility necessary as a leader among the other apostles to use the keys of the kingdom to open the door of salvation not just to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, but also to the Samaritans and then to the Gentiles, both of whom were despised by the Jews, but to whom they were to be a light unto salvation?  See Mat 16:18-19, Act 2:14-41, 8:14-15, 10:28-29,34-48, and especially 2Co 4:5-12.  Are we willing to allow ourselves to be broken as Peter was in order that we might also be used as Peter was by the Lord for service in His kingdom?  When we experience life circumstances similar to what happened to Peter, will we stiffen our neck and continue to double down and cling to our lies in this life, or will we allow our eyes to meet the Lord’s, and be broken to the point of a true repentance so that the Lord can then use us as a vessel of honor for service in His kingdom?  Cf. 2Ti 2:20-21.

What does the outcome of Jesus’ prediction to Peter and it’s result in his life teach us about the way the Lord is able to accomplish things in our lives even through such adverse paths?  What does it teach us about His great love and the extent He is willing to go—even to the point of our denying Him with cursing and swearing, and then forgiving us—to see us saved and to enter into the service of His kingdom?  In that regard, how did His prediction of Peter’s denials and then its exact fulfillment with the desired results identify Jesus as not only a prophet who was more than a mere man, but also more than a mere prophet, even the Prophet whom Moses said would come, whom we now know was also the Christ, the Son of God?  See Deut 18:15-19, Joh 1:21, 6:14, 7:40.

Consider Peter’s complete denials of Jesus that resulted in his complete brokenness so that God was then able to use Peter in a way He could not before; might not the same have potentially been true of Judas’ betrayal?  I.e., Judas was also deeply sorrowful for what he did, even as Peter was (Mat 27:3-4).  As the Lord forgave and restored Peter in spite of his vehement denial, might He not have done the same for Judas in spite of his betrayal?  But what did Judas do, sorrowful though he was, that Peter did not, that prevented such, and demonstrated only a worldly sorrow unto death, and not a godly sorrow unto repentance and life?  See Mat 27:5; cf. 2Co 7:9-10.  Think too: how would history have viewed Peter after his denials had he done similar to Judas?  What does this remind us about both the great and deceptive danger of suicide as forevermore preventing one from repenting unto eternal life, as well as the nature of true repentance?  On the other hand, what is specifically recorded about Peter in contrast to Judas?  Compare Luk 22:31-32 with Joh 6:70-71, 13:18, 17:12.  What does this remind us about the mystery of both man’s free will in the midst of God’s sovereignty, and God’s sovereignty in the midst of man’s free will?

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