My Thoughts. . .
Monday, January 6, 2020
When the men from the high priest came to arrest Jesus, Matthew and Mark tell us the disciples fled. Both were referring to the apostles and friends who made that choice. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that Peter followed Jesus “afar off.” John’s account is different. He informs us that Peter followed Jesus but doesn’t mention whether it was “afar” or “nearer” that the others (John 18:15). Neither Matthew, Mark nor Luke tell us that “another disciple” was with Peter. Neither of those three inform us as to how Peter gained entrance to the court of the high priest. John is the only one who gives that information (John 18:16). That disciple was known to the high priest (John 18:15). John informs us that this particular disciple “went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest” (v. 15). According to verse 16, the high priest knew that disciple. Who was he? It was the apostle John. Peter could not get past the gate into the court. The female attendant knew John and upon his word, Peter was allowed to enter. The text may indicate that John was allowed into the presence of the high priest when he interrogated Jesus.
When the young woman accepted John’s instructions to allow Peter through the gate, John apparently returned to where Jesus was held. Peter was asked by the girl, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” Apparently, she knew John was or the question would not have been asked. However, Peter’s reply was, “I am not” (v. 17). Opportunity Number One lost! Sometimes it is who you know that makes the difference on how you respond. John knew and was known by the high priest. That gave Peter the right to enter. It also set in motion his opportunity to witness or wither.
Peter warmed himself by the fire where the servants and officers of the high priest were. He wanted to see how things would go for Jesus (Matthew 26:58b). Some in that group were in the crowd that arrested Jesus. If Jesus friends fled to keep from being arrested, why would they think Peter had enough courage to be in their midst (v. 25)? His answer to their question indicates he lost another Opportunity. Then a relative of Malchus, the one lost and regained his right ear, asked a question. “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” (John 18:26). Response? “Peter denied it.” Opportunity number three.
When the rooster crowed Peter realized his bragging for what it was (Matthew 26:33-35; Luke 22:33). He understood that he had denied Jesus, not once, but three times. He was mortified over his actions and Matthew and Luke tell us he “wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62). Despite that, when Jesus rose and met with the apostles, he never reminded Peter about those lost opportunities. He never demanded Peter to make a public confession. Instead he told Peter, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15), “Feed my sheep” (v. 16-17, and “Follow me” (v. 19).
Regardless of what your past looks like, Jesus say, “Follow me.”