Matt. 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,“ she said.
But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, ”This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
He denied it again, with an oath:”I don’t know the man!”
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.”
Then he began to call down curses on himself and “he swore to them, I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Today we see, once again, prophecy coming true. Matt: 26: 34-35 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered “this very night, before the rooster 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. Part of what amazes me is Peter witnessed miracle after miracle and yet he denied and disowned.
I think with each time he disowned him, he did it more vehemently, but he must have been feeling worse each time. By the third time, all he could do was weep. But not just weep, he “wept bitterly.” Recently when my granddaughter passed, I believe I wept bitterly…the kind of weeping that you can feel in every fiber of your being and feel it will never stop. Peter felt that and I’m sure most of you have felt it at one time or another, for a number of different reasons.
I don’t think Peter ever forgot what he did. How could he? Even when we know we are forgiven, when asked, it’s hard for us, as people and sinners, to believe someone could forgive us so easily when we can’t forgive ourselves.
Denying someone is strong. It’s an action. Declaring something is untrue. Declaring is not just stating it. There is more power in a declaration than a statement. However, in disowning you refuse to acknowledge or maintain any connection with it. He totally separated himself from Jesus. Can we even remotely imagine what Peter felt when that rooster crowed?
When we disown or deny, it separates us from the love of the Lord. Christ shows his acceptance of us in everything. He takes action in a way we should learn from and not be afraid to use.
With denial you can change your mind or statement. Disown can be a sword to someone’s heart and there are great possibilities that you will not be forgiven by that person. If you disown, who but God would take you back without hesitation? Would you rather rejoice in what he has given you or weep bitterly when what you have been given could be taken away because we denied or disowned, or, at the very least, we don’t give God the chance to do his full work for us and in us. Though one is stronger than the other, it all adds up to the same. It separates us from the love the Lord wants to give us so freely and abundantly.
Lord, thank you for forgiving us when we cannot forgive ourselves. Help us to be more ready to acknowledge than to deny our belief in what you can and will do for us.
In Your Precious Name, Amen