THE GOSPELS 111
Matt. 26-27, Mk. 14-15,
Lk. 22-23, Jno. 18-19
A BRAVE DISCIPLE DENIES HIS LORD
When Jesus was arrested, all of the disciples fled…except Peter and probably John. The one with Peter was known to the High Priest, so they were admitted into the
grounds of the High Priest’s house where the trial would take place. Without going into details, a strong tradition says that John’s father, Zebedee, had a successful salt
fish business in Galilee, with a branch in Jerusalem, and that they supplied the house of the High Priest with fish. That way, John would have been known to the High Priest.
While standing about with the soldiers, warming himself at the fire they had built, Peter was approached three times and named as one of the followers of Jesus, but each time
he vehemently denied it, and then the cock crowed and he remembered the prediction Jesus had made. He went out and wept.
Before going on, I want to consider this incident, for it has many important ramifications. In the first place, to consider Peter a coward is ridiculous. He was the only
one who drew his sword in the face of a mob and tried to defend his Lord. Only a brave man does this. Then, after all the others had fled, Peter refused to leave Jesus as they
led Him away, and followed His captors to the place of trial. Not the actions of a coward. But then, how do we explain his vehement denial?
There are a number of factors involved here. In the first place, the disciples all still believed that the Kingdom would be an earthly kingdom with the throne in
Jerusalem. Even after the resurrection, the disciples asked Jesus if He was going to now restore the Kingdom to Jerusalem. So Peter, believing this, could not understand
Jesus allowing Himself to be arrested and headed for the Cross. His obvious confusion at this, and at Jesus’ refusal to let him defend Him in the Garden, made him wonder what
was going on and led to his denial that he knew or was a part of Jesus’ actions.
There are many today who still envision the Kingdom of Heaven as a physical realm, with a literal throne in a literal place, even here on earth. Not seeing the true
implications of God being Spirit, and of a Spiritual Kingdom, not imaginable by our minds in this limited physical world, there are many things Jesus said and did that are not
understood. In fact, there are those who lose faith because they cannot understand why God does some things that do not agree with human reason. It is not unusual to hear
someone say, “If God is a good God, why does He allow this?” Just as Peter and the others could not understand something that went contrary to what the Jewish rabbis had always
taught, so, many today do not understand the truths of the Gospel when they do not fit the things they have been taught all their lives.
Also, Peter and the others never understood the necessity for Jesus offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In fact, we do not know, and cannot imagine why God has
always required blood sacrifice. There is no way the human mind can comprehend the necessity for the blood of Jesus Christ to be shed in order for our sins to be forgiven.
Even Jesus, in His human form, asked God in prayer if there was not some other way possible. Human reason does not comprehend the mind of God. So Peter, who had such
confidence in the wisdom of his Lord, was totally confused by His willingness to have Himself arrested by the Jews. He did not want to be called as a witness to this which he
could not understand and backed off to let Jesus handle it His way. But the decision to do this devastated him, and he wept bitterly.
The sequel to this, which we shall see later, is a wonderful picture of the faith Jesus had in Peter and the love He had for him.