15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. The high priest knew the other disciple. So that disciple went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. 16 But Peter had to wait outside by the door. The other disciple came back. He was the one the high priest knew. He spoke to the servant woman who was on duty there. Then he brought Peter in. 17 She asked Peter, “You aren’t one of Jesus’ disciples too, are you?” “I am not,” he replied. 18 It was cold. The slaves and officials stood around a fire. They had made it to keep warm. Peter was also standing with them. He was warming himself. 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus. He asked him about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I didn’t say anything in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask the people who heard me. They certainly know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said that, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this any way to answer the high priest?” he asked. 23 “Have I said something wrong?” Jesus replied. “If I have, then tell everyone what it was. But if I spoke the truth, why did you hit me?” 24 Annas sent him, tied up, to Caiaphas, the high priest. 25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself by the fire. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of Jesus’ disciples too, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves was a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off. He said to Peter, “Didn’t I see you with Jesus in the garden?” 27 Again Peter said no. At that exact moment a rooster began to crow.
Here is a well-known event in the time leading up to Jesus’ death – Peter, a close friend and disciple of Jesus blatantly denies (3 times) that he is a follower of Jesus.
But if you read the end of the story, you see that Peter eventually returns, is welcomed back by Jesus, and in the end, becomes a foundational leader of the church.
Most of us would know people who once professed faith in Jesus but who are currently not following Him. This passage brings me encouragement and hope that abandoning Jesus (or living in a state of denial) – or any other kind of failure, for that matter, is not the end of the story. Grace, love and forgiveness are all there waiting for us after we fail Him.
Let’s be encouraged today not to give up hope for those who have walked away from their faith. This is not the end of the story. No matter how much we have failed He is there waiting to welcome us back.
Written by Shelley Witt