Matthew 26:31- 75

Matthew 26:31-75 captures the story of Jesus betrayal. Jesus warns the twelve that they willall fall away because of me this night”.  Of course they all say they won’t ever do that, but Peter is the spokesman and really puts it on the line when he boasts “I will never fall away”.  Jesus tells him exactly what is to come when He says “before the rooster crows you will deny me three times”.  Jesus is troubled by the coming events and takes His three closest disciples with Him to go and pray.  He asks them to stay and watch and pray,  He goes a bit further and pours out His heart saying “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will”.  Jesus is agonizing about what is to come.  He seeks the Father to see if there might be another way.  But His agenda is clear – He is totally committed to following and obeying God’s will and direction even unto death.  Jesus is all in.  His key disciples – the inner team if you will – are overcome.  Three times He asks them to “watch and pray” and all three times He returns to find them sleeping again.  They do not completely understand the gravity of the situation.  The third time He awakens them is right before Judas Iscariot shows up with the mob to arrest Jesus.  Judas had set forth a plan: “the one I kiss is the Man”.  And that is exactly how it went down.  Judas comes up to Jesus and “kissed Him” and betrays Him into the hands of the crowd to be dragged back to Caiaphas the high priest and the religious leaders. There was a momentary challenge put up by one of the disciples when he “drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear”.  Momentary delay as there were four of them against a mob of angry people that had been assembled by the leaders to go get Jesus. 

As Jesus had predicted, “all the disciples left Him and fled”.  Peter “was following Him at a distance” but none of the ones who had spent the last three years living and walking with Jesus daily were with Him now as He is accused and facing death.  Only hours earlier they had all said they would be with Him through it all, but now that they have seen what is happening they scatter like flies. Peter wants to be close enough to the situation to know what is going down.  He stays in the shadows at a distance watching as Jesus is falsely accused and sentenced as a blasphemer.  Then it began to happen.  One by one people began looking at who was in the crowd watching.  “A servant girl came to Peter and said “you also were with Jesus…..but he denied it”.  A bit later another servant girl came and said “this man was with Jesus…..again he denied it”.   Soon thereafter one of the bystanders came up to Peter and said “certainly you too are one of them….he began to invoke a curse on himself and swear ‘I do not know the man’”.  Three times people recognize Peter as having been with Jesus and three times he denies it, each a little more strongly.  He does exactly what he told Jesus he would not do – fall away and run from knowing him.  Peter is focused on saving his skin and not being associated with the Man whom he had followed for the last three years to protect his own life.  “Immediately the rooster crowed…..and he went out and wept bitterly”.  Peter remembered what Jesus had told him – that before the night was over he would deny Jesus three times.  He did, and the rooster was the reminder of that prophecy.  Peter is devastated.  He has done exactly what he said he would not.  So how do you respond when your faith is challenged or someone asks you about Jesus?  Do you run and deny that you know Him?  Or are you completely sold out for Him, willing to stand firm and defend Him as your Savior and Lord?  Is Jesus only there when you are alone and no one else knows?  Or are you living life so that everyone sees and knows that He is King in your life and you are all in for Him?  Do you deny Him?  We will learn that Peter does not lose his place of importance in God’s plan with this denial.  But it is a very hard time as God builds his character and grows him to become the “rock” of the church as Jesus told him earlier.

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