My Thoughts. . .
Of the twelve apostles, Peter is the one who jumps into the conversation expressing his allegiance to the Lord. At the Passover feast when Jesus informed them that one of them would betray him, Peter responds that it is not him because he will lay down his life for Jesus (John 13:37; Luke 22:33). Jesus’ response must have bewildered the fisherman when the Christ spoke about Peter denying him (Luke 22:34). Did Peter say to himself, “Jesus, I’ll prove myself to you and everyone else”?
When the crowd came to arrest Jesus, Peter reached for the sword which Jesus had approved of prior to the Garden’s visit (John 18:10). He cut off the ear of the nearest man. Rather than praise Peter, Jesus commanded him to put it away (v. 11). Imagine the contradictory questions this reaction did to confuse Peter’s thinking? The apostle’s believed Jesus was the answer to removing Roman domination and re-establishing David’s kingdom (Acts 1:6). The apostles knew the religious hierarchy hated Jesus and accused him of blasphemy and being led by Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24; John 10:33). Peter possessed a sword, and he would die defending his Rabbi. His allegiance and actions were negated by Jesus’ surprising command (Luke 22:51 NASV, RSV, NIV). Jesus’ surrender was not the response expected from the promised Messiah. The apostles fled into the safety of darkness. Peter and John went to the palace of the high priest (John 16:15). John was known by the high priest, so he arranged for Peter to also come in.
Peter was not a willing companion of John. His sword swinging was past history. Scripture does not say, but I doubt if Peter continued to possess that sword when he stood at that door. The female at the door is referred to as “her,” “girl on duty,” “slave,” “maid,” or “damsel” by the KJV through the ASV, NASV, RSV, NKJV, and the NIV. She is the first to ask if Peter is a disciple of Jesus. His answer is short, “I know not what thou sayest” (Matthew 26:70 KJV). “I do not know what you are talking about” (NASV, NIV). “I do not know what you mean” (RSV). “I do not know what you are saying” (NKJV). He begins fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy. Another maid or slave girl and man point him out and he responds to them with “an oath” to convince them that “I do not know the man” (Matthew 26:72). The third event states others accused him because of his dialect. His response was “to curse and to swear” his denial (Matthew 27:74). I do not know the exact location of that rooster, but he fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy. Peter certainly heard it and recognized what he had done. He departed and “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).
The only apostle present at the cross was John. Peter is not mentioned. Where is this apostle who stated, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God” when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am” (Matthew 16:15-16)? When Jesus appeared to the group meeting in a room that had a locked door, Peter was present (John 20:19)? All were “overjoyed” at the Lord’s appearance (v. 20). What does the forceful apostle Peter say? Nothing is recorded. Jesus appears again when the apostles are fishing. Jesus speaks to them from the shore. Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to shore. He does not address Jesus. He helps bring the net in that is full. They clean and cook some of the 153 fish caught in that net. They sit and eat their portion. What does Peter say during this time? Absolutely nothing. Peter’s solution of what to say never comes. When they finished eating, Jesus turns to Peter and asked, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” (John 21:15). Have you ever been in an embarrassing situation and hoped you do not become the center of attraction? Peter had bragged that he would not deny Jesus. Despite Jesus’ warning, he did deny. Here Jesus is asking if he loves him more than the others do. Will he revert back to the Simon who inflates his faithfulness? His reply is, “You know that I love you.” Jesus has used a higher meaning word for “love” than the one Peter has chosen. Peter’s word means “to like.” Jesus repeats that loftier word the second time. Peter responds by using the weaker of the two. The third time Jesus uses Peter’s word. Each time Jesus stated, “Feed my sheep.” Peter was still a leader, but now he was ready to be a better one. The lesson had been illustrated and learned.
How many of us have been asked by the Lord, “Do you LOVE me?” and our answer is, “Yes, Lord, we LIKE you”? Jesus accepts that, then says “OK, feed my sheep.”