Today as we gather we will remember the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night that he was betrayed. Our reading from John today speaks of one aspect of that night of betrayal.
It is Peter’s denial of Jesus that we read about this morning. Peter who will be called the rock on whom the future church will be built, Peter who last week had demanded that Jesus wash all of him to signify that he was a disciple of Jesus, Peter who in one breath declares that Jesus is the Messiah and in the next breath takes Jesus aside to rebuke him when Jesus talks of his death. It’s easy to shake our heads over Peter and his inconsistencies but I’d like us to focus on some other things that come out of this reading.
As is typical for John, and as we have been discovering each week, there are many layers to this encounter of Peters. Firstly, how come it is a woman who guards the gate and decides who comes in and goes out and what is her status? Just who is the ‘other disciple’ who was with Peter and how come he was well known enough to easily go inside the high priest’s courtyard?
One thing I think we forget about Peter is his courage to follow Jesus after he was arrested. The rest of the disciples ran away and are nowhere to be seen in this part of the crucifixion story. Peter, and another disciple, swallowed their fear and followed to see what was happening. Peter gets caught up in the questions around being one of Jesus’ followers and that’s where the fear gets the better of him.
Have you ever been in a situation when you’ve been asked if you are a Christian? How did you reply? Here in Australia we can reply safely with ‘yes’ but there are other places around the world where a reply of ‘yes’ would mean certain imprisonment, punishment and even death. I tend to think that, just like Peter, we’d say no. But it makes me think, how easy is it to stand up as a Christ follower no matter what the circumstances or outcomes may be? At least Peter was there, as close as he could be to Christ. I can only imagine his pain as he heard the cock crow and remember what Jesus had told him.
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