What Jesus Did! 'Betrayal in the Mirror' — Matthew 26:69-75

Friday, December 8, 2017

At that time, Peter was sitting in the yard. A servant girl came to Peter. The girl said, "You were with Jesus, that man from Galilee." But Peter said that he was never with Jesus. He said this to all the people there. Peter said, "I don't know what you are talking about." Then Peter left the yard. At the gate, another girl saw him. The girl said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." Again, Peter said that he was never with Jesus. Peter said, "I promise to God that I don't know this man Jesus!" A short time later, some people standing there went to Peter and said, "We know you are one of those men that followed Jesus. We know this because of the way you talk." Then Peter began to curse. He said strongly, "I promise to God that I don't know this man Jesus!" After Peter said this, a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: "Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't know me." Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.
— Matthew 26:69-75
Illustration of Matthew 26:69-75 — "Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't know me."

Key Thought

Confessing Jesus and praising him loudly and boldly is very easy among friends and fellow believers. But what will we do when our perception of Jesus' power and love are rattled and we find all of our dreams shattered like broken shards of glass lying at our feet? Will we confess him as Lord then? Will we serve him because we believe and because he is Lord even when there is no external or readily apparent reason to serve him? Peter's rooster has crowed in many lives since Peter heard it and realized what he had done: broken his word to the Lord and broken the Lord's heart. That rooster crow comes in many forms, but it is that agonizing moment when we personally realize that we have betrayed or denied our Lord—not for thirty pieces of silver like Judas and not for fear of our life like Peter, but for nothing. The really powerful and beautiful part of this story is that unlike Judas' betrayal, Peter's story doesn't finish here. He returns to serve and glorify the Lord in mighty ways. So for those of us who have failed mightily, there is not only hope, but a proven example that Jesus welcomes back failures to make them strong and call them to his service. In the meantime, let's keep trying to be strong and not fail with the help of the Lord's Spirit and the confidence that Peter would not know until Jesus had risen from the dead!

Today's Prayer

Almighty and holy God, I fully recognize that I make promises that I cannot keep. Please forgive me when I have been rash with my promises, slow in keeping my vows to you, and weak in fulfilling my commitments. There is a bit of both Peter and Judas in me. This troubles me and shames me, but also reminds me that I need your strength and your Spirit to be strong and to live faithfully. My truest prayer, dear Father, is that I never outlive nor betray my love for you and the grace you have given me in my Savior. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

The men that arrested Jesus led him to the house of Caiaphas the high priest. The teachers of the law and the older Jewish leaders were gathered there. Peter followed Jesus, but he did not come near Jesus. Peter followed Jesus to the yard of the high priest's house. He went in and sat with the guards. Peter wanted to see what would happen to Jesus. The leading priests and the Jewish council tried to find something against Jesus so that they could kill him. They tried to find people to lie and say that Jesus had done wrong. Many people came and told false things about Jesus. But the council could find no real reason to kill Jesus. Then two people came and said, "This man (Jesus) said, 'I can destroy the temple of God and build it again in three days.'" Then the high priest stood and said to Jesus, "These people have said things against you. Do you have something to say about these charges against you? Are these people telling the truth?" But Jesus said nothing. Again the high priest said to Jesus, "You are now under oath. I command you by the power of the living God to tell us the truth. Tell us, are you the Christ, the Son of God?" Jesus answered, "Yes, I am. But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right side of God. And you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven." When the high priest heard this, {he was very angry}. He tore his clothes and said, "This man has said things that are against God! We don't need any more witnesses. You all heard him say these things against God. What do you think?" The Jewish leaders answered, "He is guilty, and he must die." Then they spit in Jesus' face. And they hit him with their fists. Other people slapped Jesus. They said, "Show us that you are a prophet, Christ ! Tell us who hit you!" At that time, Peter was sitting in the yard. A servant girl came to Peter. The girl said, "You were with Jesus, that man from Galilee." But Peter said that he was never with Jesus. He said this to allthe people there. Peter said, "I don't know what you are talking about." Then Peter left the yard. At the gate, another girl saw him. The girl said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." Again, Peter said that he was never with Jesus. Peter said, "I promise to God that I don't know this man Jesus!" A short time later, some people standing there went to Peter and said, "We know you are one of those men that followed Jesus. We know this because of the way you talk." Then Peter began to curse. He said strongly, "I promise to God that I don't know this man Jesus!" After Peter said this, a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: "Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't know me." Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.

Matthew 26:57-75

Related Scripture Readings

"Satan (the devil) has asked to test you men like a farmer tests his wheat. O Simon, Simon (Peter), I have prayed that you will not lose your faith! Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me." But Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go to jail with you. I will even die with you!" But Jesus said, "Peter, before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say you don't know me. You will say this three times!"

Luke 22:31-34

When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these {other men love me}?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said to Peter, "Take care of my lambs. " Again Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said to Peter, "Take care of my sheep. " A third time Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times, "Do you love me?" Peter said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!" Jesus said to Peter, "Take care of my sheep.

John 21:15-17

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.