Peter Succumbs to Temptation

Luke 22:54-65

Jesus is led from the Garden by the force sent to arrest Him; He is taken to the courtyard at the home of the High Priest and held there. Peter follows at a discreet distance and quietly joins a group of people gathered around a fire in the courtyard. It would be hard for anyone to say for certain why Peter was there, other than to see what would happen to Jesus, but in due course he was recognized, first by a servant girl and then two more times. Each time someone spoke up about his identity, Peter denied ever having known Jesus.

And then the rooster crowed.

According to Luke’s narrative, Peter found himself looking right into the eyes of the Lord at that moment: He had succumbed to the temptation Jesus had warned him about, and the prediction that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed had come true.

Peter was devastated and rushed out of the courtyard and wept “bitterly”.

This is the point where I am supposed to ask if we too would deny Jesus when the going gets tough, and where you say ‘no way’… but I won’t… because there is really no way to place ourselves in Peter’s circumstances honestly. It’s kind of a funny thing, we can look back at the story of the disciples from start to finish, and find all kinds of fault with them. We can comment, as all of us have, on how they didn’t always “get it” when Jesus taught them. We can ask how they could see so many miracles and then still have questions. We can be critical all day long about the things they might have done or said, but the reality of the situation is that they are us; we are every bit as clueless, stubborn and silly as they were.

Yes, it is true that they had the advantage of being in the physical presence of Jesus and actually bearing witness to His miracles. Yet in spite of that, they had no idea how the story was going to end, even though Jesus told them several times. We must recognize that the ending of the story ran completely counter to everything they had been taught and had known… and people rising from their graves are nothing if not foreign to all of us.

We who know how the story ended and all that happened after that are still bound by the things we have been taught, the things we have seen and the things we think we know. Very often, this makes us even more clueless that the disciples were. I think that if we are honest about it, had we been in the same position as Peter was, we would have done the same thing; or we wouldn’t have been in the courtyard at all.

During this time, the soldiers guarding Jesus had a bit of fun with Him before daybreak and the momentous events that would follow.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Peter Succumbs to Temptation”

  1. Thanks for the insights, Don! When I view God as I understand Him, I will keep trying to fit God in a box of my own design; that approach is inadequate at best. Since we cannot fully comprehend God and His ways, we tend to fear the unknown instead of implicitly trusting Him. I would not have ventured to the courtyard; fear would have driven me away. Which is one reason why we are instructed: Lean not on your own understanding…

  2. “We can comment, as all of have, on how they didn’t always “get it” when Jesus taught them.” Yes to this and much more here.

    And this year I wonder why “getting it” has such value. Why I thought it has such value. Thank you for not telling us how to get it.

  3. “This is the point where I am supposed to ask if we too would deny Jesus when the going gets tough, and where you say ‘no way’… but I won’t… because there is really no way to place ourselves in Peter’s circumstances honestly.”

    Very good point. What’s more compelling to me in this is that Jesus didn’t give up on Peter. He never gives up on us either. He’s always there to meet us in our place of failure. Not to condemn us or push our nose in it (“Peter, I told you so!”) but to restore us and call us up to our destiny.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s