37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
John 18:17, 25-27
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”...
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
I'm sure Peter would rather we skip over his part of the story in this Lenten season. He made a promise and three times denied Christ—not really something you want the whole world to know. The thing I can't move past in Peter's denial, is how easy it would have been to try and justify his three responses.
"Lord, you wouldn't want me to die right? I had to lie so I could keep living and doing your work."
I wouldn't blame Peter. I probably would have done the same thing without instantly seeing it as an act of betrayal. Actually, if I'm honest with myself, I've stood where Peter has and come out with the rooster crowing.
"Lord, I didn't mention you because I didn't want to make my friends feel uncomfortable. You wouldn't want me to lose friends right? Then I'd have less people to witness to about you."
Justification and obedience rarely go hand in hand. And the ease with which I can justify is overwhelming.
But, Christ knew.
He knew Peter would betray Him and still His love remained consistent. He took up the cross. He walked forward toward His death. And His love for me remained consistent.
I have a hard time understanding the depths at which
God so loves the world. Not only did He love the disciples, those He taught and spent time with—those who betrayed Him. He loved the high priest. Loved the Sanhedrin. Loved the man who literally hammered the nails into Him. I can't imagine what it sounds like to hear a swarm of people you love beyond all comprehension shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Without excuses or resistance, going to die for them.
Christ (always at His best), covering me at my very worst.
"For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
To those who don't know Christ, hearing His call to come and die is ludicrous. But when your sin—your justification—becomes clear, the truth becomes clear as well.