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John 18:12-27, Peter’s Denial

Sunday, March 4

Jesus Experiences Peter's Betrayal

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Jesus would be humiliated in every way on this night. He would be accused, tried, beaten, mocked, and hung on a cross. And the salt in the wound would be Peter’s denial. At a time when Jesus could have leaned upon the strength of his disciples, they betrayed him. Peter’s denial was an outward expression of the utter isolation Jesus would experience as he endured the events of the night. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I have long believed that Jesus experienced every single human emotion, so that God would forever know exactly what it is like to be human. This gut-wrenching betrayal demonstrates one of the most heinous experiences people will ever go through. For a beloved someone to turn their back on us, to leave us exposed and alone, highlights all the more why we will never live in a perfect world, why Jesus had to become human, and why God had to renew God’s covenant with people in the way that God did. Jesus did what we could never do. He endured more than any of us will ever endure. He survived the emotional roller coaster and came out loving us that much more. It’s perplexing and astonishing, and we are very fortunate to have a God that loves as deeply as this.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 18:12-27

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.