In Mark, chapter 14:27-31 he writes,
27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
I often wonder why Peter was the disciple that Jesus points out as the person who denies him. In response,
29 Peter declares, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
Surely if I was the person publicly accused in front of my friends as the one who denies Jesus I would doing my absolute utmost not to succumb to Jesus’ prediction.
30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today yes, tonight before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
However, Jesus even nominates the time of each the denial.
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
So therefore, why does Peter despite his confident protestations surrender to denying Jesus three times.
I believe the reason Peter denied he knew Jesus was threefold. The first accusation comes from a servant girl where perhaps Peter just didn’t want to be associated with Jesus fearing for his own safety and how it might lead to his own death. Consequently, realizing his life was threatened he put it before his loyalty to Jesus. I wonder how often do I act out of self-preservation rather than support the actions of my family and friends.
However, the servant girl continues to step up the pressure by telling others that Peter was a follower of Jesus. Under pressure from many more challengers Peter denies again. Thus, it goes beyond self -preservation there is a need for Peter to get away from the pointed fingers.
I would argue that it may be guilt that compels him to try to get away from the scene as fast as possible. Hence, I consider how many times have I sought an escape route rather than face the problem.
Finally, Peter has bystanders confront him and retorts, “I don’t know this man your talking about.” I think by this stage Peter had reached the end of his tether and realized there was nothing he could do to help Jesus. Thus, for Peter there was no solution to Jesus’ plight it was just spiraling to an inevitable conclusion, Jesus’ death. I sometimes reflect whether I defer to there being no solution rather than looking for possible ways to come a resolution.
Surely, Jesus through his resurrection witnessed not only to Peter but the world there is always room for hope it is just a matter of believing.