June 16 - Just Like Us

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 16 – Just Like Us

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.”

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?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (John 18:25-27)

John’s writing style is fascinating.  He keeps the action moving.  We watch as Peter is confronted with his weakness in the middle of growing excitement as Jesus is confronted by His accusers.

Peter stands at a fire – warming himself.  If you look back at 18:18, we read that it was cold and there were several servants and officials standing around this fire.  We aren’t sure whether John is still there or not – the story doesn’t say.

But, news travels fast, doesn’t it!  A relative of Malchus recognized the man that had cut his ear off.  Peter tried to deny all of it, even in the face of a witness. 

It is difficult for us to accept Peter’s behavior.  We want to judge him harshly.  It is unimaginable to us that someone who was that close to the Messiah could possibly have such a weak will and would be so ready to walk away.

The great heroes of our faith are those that stood up for the name of Jesus in the face of great persecution.  The glorious martyrs of the faith set the bar high for us – we should be willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus. 

That is absolutely the pinnacle of servanthood and something we should pray to emulate.

But often our reality is more like Peter at this point in his life rather than when he faced death and was crucified for Christ. 

The stories of those who followed Jesus are stories of real people with real fears and real failures – much like us.  They were broken and hurting, timid and frightened – much like us. 

The gift that we have been given in Peter’s story is one of forgiveness, understanding and love.  This is what we receive from God as well and what we are called to offer to the world.