Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
~ Luke 22:52-62
I wonder just how many people are bothered by Peter's denial of Jesus after Jesus was arrested?
Today cell phones record everything from police shootings to birthday parties. Our whole society seems to be recording something to review later. I can only imagine what life would have been like for Jesus and the disciples had cell phones existed when Jesus first began performing miracles.
That first miracle at a wedding would have shown up in someone's wedding video.
Lazarus would have been uploaded to YouTube and become an internet sensation, with a huge number of shares, and comments that would have included such things as "Amazing!" to "Prank" to clicks on the "Like" and "Dislike" button.
Imagine all the disciples with cell phones watching as Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water, only to soon sink. The reactions of the disciples would have surely been recorded and gone viral.
But here we are, without a video, but definitely chapters written, recording the deep emotion that Peter experienced when confronted and then denying even knowing Jesus.
It's never easy for me when I read this passage, because I think that it is a direct reflection of my life at some point and time. It is both painful and realistic. It shows weakness and fear. I don't believe that Peter doubted who Jesus was, he simply didn't know what was going to happen next, and fear got the best of him.
I'm not Peter, so I don't really know what was going through his mind, but I do know me, and that being a follower of Jesus is a journey filled with all kinds of moments. At any time we may find ourselves sitting in a group, and being asked if we know Jesus.
Being the living Christ in the world today is challenging enough. Being able to answer, "Yes," when asked if we know Jesus, should be something we are ready to respond at any given time.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, help me to be Your hands a feet and a willing example Your living presence for others each day. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.