Read John 18:1-27
I can picture the darkness of that night in the olive grove. Then later in Caiaphas’ courtyard. The dark of the night that cloaked the betrayal. The dark of Simon Peter’s shame that cloaked his new name. I imagine he fought it as he stood there by that fire, warming himself while the Lord faced his executioners. Fought it like he’d fought the impending suffering of the Messiah.
I wonder at his thoughts that evening. Why had he been wielding a sword? Was his promise to lay down his own life for Jesus foremost in his mind as he struck that soldier’s ear? (See John 13:37-38.) And what about the falling asleep in the Garden thing when Jesus had begged him to keep watch with Him? Did he figure he’d already committed the denial Jesus had told him about earlier? Did he think that would be his biggest failure?
The Bible says Peter wept bitterly when that rooster crowed. As soon as he lied the third time and pretended he didn’t know Jesus, he sobbed like a baby for the shame and the darkness he knew. For the hopelessness he experienced as he watched his Savior be bound. The shame he must have known, realizing he had denied the very One to whom he’d pledged his life. Surely, he must have scorned his new name. Oh, Peter, you are no rock.
I wonder if Peter remembered the other stuff, though. The promises Jesus had made. The hope He’d laid out so clearly. I wonder how long it took for him to realize that the promises Jesus had made were simply truths not yet realized. Like the one about His forever life and His conquering death. And what about the promise that Peter himself would be the one on whom He would build His church? The very one Jesus called the rock, the one on whom He promised to build His church, wilted like a pansy when faced with opposition.
How many times have we ourselves pandered and denied Jesus? How many opportunities have we scorned in order to save our own reputations? How often have we acted just like Peter did that night by the fire?
But Jesus used Peter anyway. He used him to build His church. He used him to bind the enemy, to spread His Gospel, to preach His truth.
He can use you and me, too! That’s good news!