Peter Disowns Jesus
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Here we are with Peter again, this time in Luke’s Gospel. Peter has just watched Jesus being taken away. Perhaps in shock, perhaps looking for the comfort of others, perhaps because there was no place else to go, Peter sits down with a group who had gathered around a fire. And it is here that Peter denies knowing Jesus. Not just once, but three times. And the cock crows, just as Jesus had predicted. When Peter realizes what has happened he breaks down and weeps bitterly.
In many ways the story of Peter is our story, humanity’s story. It is a story of good intentions, of faithfulness, of care and support. It is also a story about fear and how fear can change even the best of intentions.
Peter was afraid and fear caused him to do things he didn’t want to do. Fear also stopped him from doing the things he wanted to do. I think we can all recognize that fear can have an impact on our actions and on our relationships. It can turn us into people we don’t recognize or want to be.
So today, in the midst of physical isolation and uncertainty, when fear can find its way into our home and into our hearts, how do we protect ourselves from allowing fear to shape us or change us?
In a recent conversation a friend was telling me of one of her parishioners discovering that praying for others was helping to strengthen her trust in God and relieve her fear.
A colleague recounted the story of how one man, who was terrified he might contract the virus, got involved in delivering meals to seniors at home, and his fear turned into gratitude for the many people he met, even from a distance.
We can think of first responders and medical staff and all those who are working with the public, who face their own personal fear each day as they care for those who are fighting the Covid virus.
Love can conquer fear.
As those who know the end of the Easter story, we learn that love is stronger than fear, and Peter has the opportunity to declare his love for Jesus – not once, but three times. Peter then goes on to be instrumental in the growth of the Church as he boldly proclaims Jesus.
God declares love for us, not once, but over and over and over again.
Trusting in God’s love for us can also conquer our fear as we remember that we are never alone. In our homes, in our workplaces, in the ways that we reach out – God is with us. May we allow God’s love for us and for our world help to diminish our fear.
God, may the strength of your Love help to conquer my fear and may I lay my fear before you in prayer.
In gratitude and love, today I pray for….
Remind me of your love, O God. Amen.
To listen and remember: