This is an uncomfortable passage. Our hero, Peter, the passionate disciple, suddenly turns his back on Jesus. I puzzled over this change of heart, given Simon Peter is one of his followers who stood by him in the garden, and v15 tells us, even followed behind when Jesus was arrested. This exposed Peter to being arrested himself.
However when confronted he caves.
I can identify with Peter. Why isn’t Jesus fighting back? Jesus has so much power he could easily escape. Doubts creep in, and steal away hope. His spirit fails him and he abandons what he knows is true. Could this stem from Simon Peter’s reliance on himself? He has relied on his strength, and his conviction. Now, under challenge, he cannot withstand the scrutiny, the disappointment, giving way to doubts.
Relying on myself rather than relying on the creator of the universe who knows me really does seem crazy. But it is so often my fall back position – call it human nature or whatever. But my gracious God is waiting for me no matter when I fail him.
The contrast between this Simon Peter and the Peter of Acts couldn’t be more dramatic (see Acts 2-4 for example). The 2 things Peter received are what transform me – hope and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, thank you for transforming me just as you did in Peter’s life. When doubts and feelings of hopelessness creep in, you are there for me.
Written by Claire Moore