Oh! Hi! I didn’t see you sitting there.
Yeah, I’m him… Yeah… yeah… that’s me.
Yep, I really said that. Can you believe it? I stuck my foot in my mouth on that one. I’m still amazed Jesus let me stick around.
… Oh, you want to hear that story, huh? Well, okay, it’s not a story I tell too often, because for me, as you can imagine – it’s bittersweet. I hate to tell the story, and I love to tell it. It was the worst day of my life…and the best day of my life.
How can that be? Well, I’ll tell you. But the story takes a while, so you had better sit down…
Now most people think that they know this story, but I would say that – quite literally, they only know half of it. You will see what I mean.
The First Prediction of Three Denials
But where should I begin? Probably, I should begin on the night of that last supper we had with Jesus in the upper room. I had always been known as the one who stuck his foot in his mouth, but that night, I was really on a roll.
Jesus came around and tried to wash all of our feet, but I told him he couldn’t wash mine. I was too embarrassed. We had been walking around in the mud and the animal droppings that day. My feet were filthy, and they stank. There was no way I was going to let Jesus wash my feet (John 13:1-17).
But he told me that if I didn’t let him wash my feet, I would have no part with him. I don’t know if the other disciples understood what Jesus was talking about, but I had no clue, and so I said to Jesus, “Well, in that case, wash all of me! Wash my head, and my hands, and my body as well!”
He kindly and patiently told me that I didn’t need to have all of me washed, for I was already clean. I only needed to have my feet washed. I understand now what he meant, but that’s a story for another time.
After he washed our feet, we all reclined at the table for our supper (John 13:18). He broke bread, and passed it out.
And part way through the meal, (John 13:19-35) Jesus gets this real troubled look on his face, and he looks around at all of us disciples sitting there, and says, “One of you will betray me tonight.”
This was quite a shock! We had all followed him faithfully for over three years! We had been listening to his teachings. We had been with him through thick and thin. When he was popular, we were with him. When he was unpopular, we were there too. Why would one of us betray him?
I looked around the table trying to figure out who it would be. I like to think I’m one of those analytical types, and so after thinking about it for a minute, I decided that if I had to pick someone, if one of us was going to betray him, it was going to be that Thomas.
He always was pretty critical of what Jesus said. He was always the last one to believe. He always needed proof. If any of us were going to betray Jesus, it would be Thomas.
But in the three years I had followed Jesus, I had learned to try to watch what I say. I was always the one to stick my foot in my mouth, and speak without thinking. But not tonight. I was going to watch what I say tonight.
I mean, if I wasn’t careful with what I said, I may find that I was the one who betrays Christ. And I certainly didn’t want that to happen. And besides, just a few days earlier, Jesus had called me Satan, and so I was kind of afraid that I might be the one to betray Jesus (Matt 16:23).
So rather than just blurt out my question, I decided to get John to ask it. John was the youngest of our group. He was only a teenager, and Jesus seemed to have a special connection for him.
I was sitting next to John, and he was sitting next to Jesus, so I whispered in John’s ear to ask Jesus who the betrayer was.
I could have just blurted it out myself, but I was trying to learn to control what I said.
So I asked John to ask Jesus, which he did. And Jesus, through a roundabout way of dipping bread in a bowl, indicated that it was Judas. Well, I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew! I was not the one who would betray him! I was in the clear!
So I decided to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the meal.
After the meal, Jesus started talking about how he was going to go away for a while, and I relaxed a bit, and forgot to watch my mouth, so I said, “Jesus, where are you going?” And he said, “Where I am going, you cannot yet follow me.”
And then I stuck my foot in my mouth again. I started bragging. I said, “I would follow you anywhere. I would even die for you, if you asked me to.”
It’s funny, isn’t it? I told Jesus I would die for him… I never imagined that it would be he who died for me… But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Right after I told Jesus that I would follow him anywhere – even unto death – he smiled at me and said, “Well, Peter, actually, even though right now you think you would die for me, in reality, before the night is over, before the rooster crows once, you will deny me three times. You will deny me three times before the roost crows” (John 13:38).
That shut me up for a while. I though I was safe. Jesus had said that it was Judas who would betray Jesus. Not me.
But now, Jesus had just told me that I would deny him three times! How could that be? I would never deny Jesus! Never! I was willing to die for him! Why would I betray him? Why would I deny him?
I wanted to do everything I could to help him set up his kingdom – and denying him three times would certainly not be helping him. Well, this shut me up for the rest of the meal. I was thinking about what Jesus had said.
The Second Prediction of Three Denials
After supper, we left the upper room, and headed out to the Mount of Olives. It was a cool evening. The stars were out. They seemed especially bright.
While we walked there, my mind was racing. With each step, I got more and more angry at what Jesus had said. Hadn’t I followed him for over three years? Hadn’t I always been by his side? Hadn’t I always done everything he asked? Why would I deny him now when he was so close to receiving his throne? That would be insane!
But when we got to the Mount of Olives, Jesus turned around, and with great sadness in his eyes, told us that before the night was over, ALL of us would fall away from him.
Now, that should have made me feel a little better. I mean, before, Jesus had just said that Judas would betray him, and I would deny him, but now, Jesus was saying that all of us would deny him.
This should have made me feel better because now we were all in the same boat.
But rather than make me feel better, it made me more angry. Why was Jesus comparing me with the other disciples? I was stronger than any of them. I was more loyal than any of them.
Yes, I stuck my foot in my mouth sometimes, but that’s only because I was a man of action. I would rather speak before I act, or speak before I thought. I was not afraid to speak my mind. This was a strength as well. I always said what I thought. These other disciples were too timid and afraid to speak up, but not me.
And I told Jesus so. I said, “Hey Jesus, even though all of these others fall away from you, I never will.” He was wrong about what he said before, and I would prove it.
And then it was like déjà vu. Jesus looked at me, just as he had during the supper. But he changed what he said a little bit this time, and said, “Peter, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times” (Mark 14:30).
I determined right then and there that I would show Jesus. And I told him so. I said, “Even if I have to die for you tonight, I will not deny you.” No matter what happened the rest of the night, I would stick by Jesus’ side.
Falling Asleep Three Times
After this, Jesus went off to pray, and asked us to stay awake and pray also. I tried, but after a while, I dozed off and fell asleep. A short while later, Jesus came back, and found us all sleeping (Matt 26:36-46).
But for some reason, even though everybody was sleeping, Jesus singled me out again. We were all sleeping, but he singles me out and says, “Simon Peter, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for even one hour?”
At first I was a little upset. Why did he single me out? Everybody was sleeping. And besides, it had been a long day, and an even longer week, and if we believed just a little bit about what Jesus was saying, we were in for a long couple of days, and tomorrow would be the biggest day of our lives!
And yet Jesus wanted us to stay awake all night praying? Come on, Jesus, we need sleep!
But then I thought – “Wait…maybe by falling asleep when Jesus asked me to pray, I had just denied Christ for the first time. Could it be? Could Jesus really think that me falling asleep was denying him? I wouldn’t look at it that way, but does he?”
Well, whether he saw it that way or not, I resolved not to fall asleep again.
Jesus went off to pray again, and wouldn’t you know it, the next thing I knew was that Jesus was waking me up again. I had fallen asleep twice! So I resolved not to fall asleep a third time.
But the night was just too long, and I was just too tired, and before I knew it, Jesus was calmly and gently waking us all up again, for the third time.
For a second, I was scared! Jesus said I would deny him three times, and I had fallen asleep three times! Was this what Jesus meant? That just by falling asleep I would be denying him?
It couldn’t be – that is so insignificant. And besides, the rooster hadn’t crowed yet – not even once, and so that couldn’t be what Jesus meant.
But…I was beginning to see how weak my resolve really was. I was beginning to see how weak my flesh was. I had told him I would stay awake and pray with him, but I couldn’t do even that. I had told him I wouldn’t deny him, and now I was beginning to wonder if I would after all.
So I decided then and there to stay awake and stay by Jesus side for whatever came next, and that no matter what, I would not deny him. Whatever comes next.
The Betrayal by Judas
I didn’t have to wait long. Immediately, Jesus announced, “Look, the one who will betray me is coming!”
And we all looked, and Jesus was right. There came Judas, surrounded by the temple guard. This didn’t look good.
Slowly, I reached underneath my tunic for the sword I had strapped on there earlier. If they tried to do anything to Jesus, I was going to split a few heads. I was going to be the first one to defend him. I was ready to kill those soldiers, and kill Judas, and die for Jesus if necessary. Whatever happened, though, I would not deny him.
Well, Judas gives Jesus a kiss of greeting. Jesus and the soldiers exchanged some words, and then one of the soldiers stepped forward saying they were going to arrest Jesus! And Jesus said to them, “Look, you can take me, but let these others go their way. Let them go free. Don’t arrest them.”
What was Jesus talking about? Jesus was trying to give himself up to them? I was going to have none of this!
So with a shout, I pulled my sword from my side, and swung it in an overhand chop as hard as I could at the head of the High Priest’s servant. His name was Malchus, and I had seen him around the temple sneering at Jesus and mocking him and making fun of him in the temple, so I decided to take him out first!
But he was a bit quicker than I thought, he was sly and wily, and rather than split his head in two, he was able to get out of the way just enough so that instead, all I did was lop off his right ear (John 18:1-11).
So I swung back to take another chop, and by this time, the temple guard were pulling out their weapons, and I was just getting ready to take another swing at Malchus when…Jesus’ voice stopped everybody else in their tracks – especially me.
Jesus singles me out again, and says, “Peter! Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given Me?”
I was flabbergasted. Jesus told me I would deny him, I said I wouldn’t. When they came to arrest Jesus, I tried to defend him just like I said I would, and now he is telling me to stop?
What was he doing? What was he thinking? I tried to defend him, and now he won’t let me?
But I had learned to obey Jesus no matter what, and so I put my sword away and stepped back to see what would happen. Maybe he was going to call down fire from heaven and incinerate the soldiers and he wanted me out of the way. This was going to be a sight to see.
But instead, he took Malchus’s head in his hands, and miraculously, healed the ear!
Here he was, healing his enemies! I remembered that Jesus had told us to love our enemies and do good to those who wish to hurt us, but wasn’t this going too far? Didn’t Jesus know they wanted to kill him, not just hurt him?
And if Jesus was killed, all of our hopes and dreams would be crushed.
But Jesus wasn’t dead yet. The soldiers came and bound Jesus and marched off with him. And just as Jesus had said, all of the other disciples fled. They ran away!
The cowards. But not me. I had promised Jesus I would not desert him, I would not deny him. I would not betray him. And I was going to keep my promise.
So I followed Jesus at a distance. After a while, John – probably seeing how brave I was – caught up with me, and together we followed Jesus.
They took him to the courtyard of the high priest, and it turned out that it was lucky that John was with me, because he knew the people in the courtyard, and they let us right in. They didn’t know me, and so I never would have been able to get in by myself.
The First Denial of Christ
But as I waited for John to go get permission to let me in, as I was standing there at the door, the servant girl, who was in charge of the door, was staring at my face. I tried to hide in the shadows, and it was still pretty dark out, but I didn’t want to make it look obvious that I was hiding, or I wouldn’t be allowed in.
But apparently, I didn’t hide my face good enough, because before John got back, she said to me, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
And I didn’t know what to say! I desperately needed to get into the courtyard. I needed to be near Jesus so that I could protect him if anybody tried to hurt him. If I wasn’t near him, I couldn’t protect him.
And if they knew I was one of his disciples, they would never let me in! So I said the only thing I could think of – I said, “No, I am not” (John 18:17).
Well, I didn’t have time to think about what I had just said, because just then, John came back and let me in to the courtyard. And I saw a bunch of soldiers standing around. Jesus was being questioned by the High Priest – so he was safe for the moment.
The Second Denial of Christ
So I went over to the fire to warm myself where the soldiers were. You might think that’s foolish, but I had a plan. I thought that if I were close to the soldiers, maybe I could find out what they were going to do with Jesus.
So I was standing there around the fire, and wouldn’t you know it, one of the soldiers must have gotten a good look at my face up in the Garden when I swung my sword at Malchus, and so this soldier said to me, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?”
And again, I knew that if I was honest, I would get arrested, or killed, or at the bare minimum kicked out, and I wouldn’t be able to protect Jesus if they did anything to him. So once again, I lied, and said, “No, I am not” (John 18:25).
The Third Denial of Christ
Now a little while passed, and I had begun to get tired of standing, and besides that, standing gave everybody a better view of my face. So I decided to sit down by the fire. I would still be able to keep warm, and I would still be able to stay near Jesus, and I could hide my face better.
But no sooner had I sat down, then one of the servant girls of the high priest came out, and she saw me sitting here, and she said to me, “You, too, were with the Galilean.”
When she said this, I saw a soldier reaching for his sword. I knew I had to stay near Jesus before something bad could happen. So before I could think about what I was doing, I blurted out, “Woman, I know him not! I do not even understand what you are talking about” (Matt 26:69-70; Mark 14:66-68; Luke 22:56-57).
Now I was mad. And they all knew it by the tone of my voice, so I got up in a huff and headed for the door of the courtyard. I wanted to make it look like I was leaving, but I wasn’t going to. I just was going to hide in the doorway so that nobody would bother me with any more awkward questions.
The Rooster Crows the First Time
But as I went, I heard a sound which makes me shiver to this very day. It was the sound of a rooster crowing (Mark 14:68).
And my heart sank. Jesus was right about me. I had just denied him three times before the rooster had crowed once.
“But you don’t understand!” I wanted to yell to the heavens. “I had to say that I didn’t know Jesus, or I wouldn’t have been able to stay near him. I had to deny him so that I could protect him!”
But I couldn’t yell that, because the soldiers were still within earshot.
So I crouched down there in the doorway, and tried to make myself seem invisible.
The Fourth Denial of Christ
But wouldn’t you know it, as I was sitting there, a man and a woman came by together, and the woman says to the man, “This man, too, was with Jesus the Nazarene” (Matt 26:71-72; Luke 22:58).
The man looked at me, and said, “Hey, you, too, are one of them!”
It was natural and easy by this time. I had already denied Jesus three times. The rooster had already crowed. What difference would one more time make? So I spoke the words again and this time I threw in an oath (which I won’t repeat to you).
I said, “Man, I am not. I do not know the man!”
So they said, “Okay!” You know, I was mad. I was big and strong. I had a lot of anger in my voice. So they said, “Sorry. We’ll leave you alone.” And they walked off.
The Fifth Denial of Christ
But just as they were leaving, that pesky servant girl of the High Priest came by again, and she saw me sitting there, and again she accused me.
She said to those nearby, “This man is one of them” (Mark 14:69-70).
And I was thinking, “Come on, girl, didn’t you hear me the first time?” So since I had already told her I wasn’t a follower of Jesus, I really couldn’t change what I had already said, so a just to repeat to her what I had already said. What harm is it to repeat the lie? So I denied that I knew Jesus.
The Sixth Denial of Christ
Well, for about an hour, I had nobody else come up to me. But just when I thought that nobody else would confront me, who should come in, but one of the relatives of Malchus! Apparently, this man too was a servant of the high priest, and he too had been up in the Garden, and seen how I had almost killed Malchus in the Garden.
So he shouts out, “Hey, I saw this man in the Garden with Jesus. He too is a Galilean.” I tried to stammer some excuse for why he must be mistaken, but that only made things worse.
He said, “See? His speech betrays him. He even talks like a Galilean” (Matt 26:73; Luke 22:59; John 18:26).
Well, this scared me! This man had a pretty good case against me! He was related to Malchus, he had been in the Garden, and he even recognized by my accent that I was from Galilee. I’m in trouble now.
So I decided to give some final proof of who I was. He said that my speech had betrayed me? I would show him what kind of mouth I had. I had grown up as a fisherman. Fishermen knew how to curse. I knew every word that was not in the dictionary. So I let them fly.
I began to curse and swear and tell this man that I didn’t know what he was talking about, and the language I used was so vile and filthy that he would never accuse me of being with Jesus again.
And just as I was really getting wound up, and starting to get the words really rolling off my tongue in true fisherman fashion, I heard a sound that stopped me cold.
The Rooster Crows Twice
The words died on my lips, for just as I denied Christ, I heard the rooster crow twice (Matt 26:75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:60-61).
And I remembered exactly what Jesus had said, “Before the rooster crows once, you will deny me three times” and “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
Jesus had been exactly right.
This is why I told you earlier that most people only know half the story. Most people think I only denied Christ three times. But the truth is that I really denied him six times. Three times before the rooster crowed once, and another three times before it crowed twice.
I think it’s gracious of God in His accounts to make it appear that I only denied Christ three times, but when you take all four of the accounts side by side, it becomes clear that I denied him six times.
When I heard that second rooster crow, I wanted to die. I ran out of the courtyard, and wept bitterly. My life became black.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
The next several days were a blur for me. I kept pretty much to myself. You should know they went and crucified Jesus on a cross at Golgotha. I didn’t go see him. I heard John went, and Mary. But I didn’t.
I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eyes. I had betrayed him. All my strong words, and I had denied him. I had abandoned him. And now, he hung on the cross, and there was nothing I could do to help.
I found out that Judas had gone and hung himself. I seriously considered doing the same thing myself.
That’s why that day was the worst day ever in my life.
But I told you also that it was the best day. Let me tell you how that happened.
You see, God has a way of taking our biggest and greatest mistakes, and turning them around for good.
Sometimes, God takes our dreams, and our proud boasting, and our arrogant attitude, and crushes them all.
And then, after our dreams and our pride and our arrogance is crushed, he begins to work on us, shape us and mold us into what he wants.
And that is what happened with me.
You see, on that day, I denied Christ six times. But what I didn’t know, is that Christ love me despite my denials, and that Christ, when he went to die on that cross, went there to die for every sin I had ever committed. Every bad word I had ever said. Every bad thought I had ever entertained.
Even my six denials, Jesus died for those as well.
Jesus Rose from the Dead
And after three days in the grave, Jesus rose again from the dead. When I heard about it, I couldn’t believe it.
In all honesty, I didn’t want to believe it. You see, if Jesus had remained dead, then that would have proven to us that we had all been tricked by him. That he wasn’t God. That he wasn’t the Messiah. If Jesus had remained dead, then it would have proven that he was just a regular person like us, and we had been fooled.
And if that had turned out to be the case, then my six denials wouldn’t have been a big deal, for I just would have denied a fake, a con artist, a fraud, a liar.
But if Jesus rose from the dead, then that meant that everything Jesus had ever said was true! And that also meant that Jesus was God.
And that terrified me. For that meant… that I had denied God.
So when those two women came back from the tomb on Sunday morning and told us that the grave was empty. I couldn’t believe it! I wanted to believe it, but at the same time, I didn’t.
They said that they had gone to the tomb early that morning. And they had seen two angels there who told them to come back and tell the disciples that he was going to meet them later.
The First Reaffirmation by Christ
One of these woman – I don’t remember which one – the whole day is a blur – took me aside and told me that the angels had specifically told her to tell me that Jesus was going to appear to me later.
She said the angels had said, “Go tell the disciples – and Peter – that he is going before you into Galilee” (Mark 16:7).
So now I was scared. Why was I been singled out again? What does it mean “Go tell the disciples and Peter?” Was I being told that I was no longer a disciple? Or was I being told that Jesus wanted to have a word with me personally? I’ll bet he did. What did it mean that I had been singled out?
The Second Reaffirmation by Christ
Well, I was not long in finding out. I went away from the disciples to think about this. Jesus rose from the dead, and I had denied him. Should I be nervous or excited? I tried to figure out what I would say to Jesus when I saw him, and…there he was. He appeared to me by myself. (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5)
And the things we talked about, I have never told anyone. It is a time I will never forget, and a time that is special to me. My time, alone, with the Savior.
It was stern moment, but also very intimate. An intimate moment with Jesus. I was terrified, and yet full of peace and comfort.
I trembled before him, as a lamb before a lion. Yet at the same time, I knew I was completely safe, as a lamb in the arms of a shepherd.
He appeared to me, and although I knew my sin was serious, I knew from that moment on, that even as serious as my sin was, He had died for me, and He loved even me.
I knew that even if I denied him in the future – God forbid – He would still love me. It was amazing! There was nothing I could say or do that would ever separate me from his love. I had spoken blasphemy, but he still loved and accepted me.
The Third Reaffirmation by Christ
Well after this, about a week or so later, some of us were at the Sea of Tiberias and I decided that I wanted to go fishing. Fishing had always calmed me, and I had found that I was able to think more clearly when I fished. I found that when I got out there with the waves and fish and the boat and the sun, sometimes we fished at night, so it was the moon and the stars and the peaceful quite of night, but when I fished, I noticed that things just seemed to make more sense. I could think more clearly.
Some of the guys decided to join me, so we went out to fish. We didn’t catch a single fish all night. But that didn’t matter for it was a wonderful time of fellowship and enjoying God’s creation. That’s what we fishermen always say when we don’t catch anything.
But it was true that night. We had a wonderful time talking about Jesus and the first time we had met him, when he had called us to be fishers of men.
John cracked a joke about how it sure was a good thing Jesus called us to be fishers of men, because we sure were lousy fishers of fish. And here were, not catching any fish. We remembered how the day Jesus called us to follow him, we hadn’t caught any fish then either.
And Jesus had appeared on the shore, and told us to cast our net on the other side of the boat.
Well, just as we were talking about this, just about the time we were ready to give up, a man comes walking down the shore and hollers out to us, “Have you caught anything?”
“No, we haven’t,” we yell back.
Then he tells us to try casting our net on the other side of the boat. We rolled our eyes at each other. Who does this guy think he is…Jesus?
I mean, when Jesus had first called us to follow him, we had been doing just as poorly at fishing, and Jesus had told us to cast our nets on the other side of the boat. Back then, I talked backed to him, and told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. We thought, “What does this landlubber know about catching fish?” We’re the expert fisherman here.
But we had obeyed then, and had caught a record number of fish.
And this time, just for old times sake, rather than argue, we decided to humor this guy, and we threw our nets on the other side of the boat – and wouldn’t you know it – we caught so many fish, we couldn’t draw the net into the boat!
I looked up at this man – and for some reason I can’t explain – I now recognized that it was Jesus! He had done the same thing again (John 21:1-7).
So I jumped into the sea, and swam to shore to be with him.
The Fourth-Sixth Reaffirmations by Christ
And after we had breakfast, Jesus took me aside and he asked me if I loved him. Now, I know you don’t know Greek, so let me tell you that Jesus asked me if I loved him with agape love.
Agape love is complete, unconditional love. The question confused me a little bit. I knew that I was a sinner, that I had denied Christ six times, and I knew that he loved me with agape love. Before I had denied Christ, I had always been boasting about how much I loved him and would obey him completely, and serve him.
But now, I had seen a glimpse of my own heart, and knew that as long as I was in this flesh, I could never love him with agape love. I knew I could never love him and obey him and serve him completely.
So I answered Jesus and said to him, “Jesus, you know that I love you.” And rather than use the word “agape” I used the word “phileo,” which means brotherly love, or affection. (John 21:8-17) like we have for our relatives and friends. It is not perfect love, but I know that as a sinful human being, I could never love perfectly.
So a second time, Jesus asked me, “Peter, do you agape me?” And again, I knew I could not guarantee that kind of love for him. Before, I would have said, “Oh yes, Jesus. You know that I will love you 100% with all that I am.” But not now. I was humbled and had been shown how weak I really was. So again, I said, “Jesus, you know that I phileo you.”
And then a third time, Jesus hinted to me that he understood, and asked a third time. But this time, seeing that I understood my own heart, asked me, “Peter, do you phileo me?”
And a third time I told him, “Yes Jesus, you know all things, you know that I phileo you.”
Peter and the Grace of God
You see, Jesus did know my heart. He knew that I would deny him those six times, and he knew that my love for him could never be as perfect as his love for me.
You see, six times I denied Jesus. And six times, he reaffirmed his love for me. First, by singling me out on the day of his resurrection, second by appearing to me by myself, third, by helping me with the fishing, and then fourth, fifth and sixth, by showing me how much he loved me even though he knew I could not return that kind of love.
Six denials and six reaffirmations. God’s grace covered over all of my sin.
The lesson I have learned is that no matter how much I have sinned, and no matter how much I still sin, Jesus Christ loves me still, and his death has taken care of all of that sin. His resurrection proves it.
And ever since the resurrection, I have never been the same.
You can read a little bit more about how I’ve changed in Acts 2 and 3. I was still the same old Peter, loud and bold. But this time, it was all for Jesus, preaching for Him, boldly and in the Spirit, turning the hearts of Jews back to God.
Prior to the resurrection, I wouldn’t even admit I was with Jesus, but now, I tell everyone I can.
And that’s the story that you asked me to tell.
The Gospel and the Grace of God
But I imagine that you asked me for a reason. Maybe you feel you have committed a sin that Jesus couldn’t forgive. Let me tell you, my friend, such a sin is impossible. Jesus Christ loved me still even though I denied him six times!
My friend, Paul – he calls himself the worst sinner ever. He committed countless murders. And Jesus Christ love him and forgave him.
And guess what else I have discovered? Every time I sin – and I still do sin – we all do – every time I sin, it is another denial of Jesus Christ. I’ve probably racked up a couple billion by now at least.
But the death of Christ covers all my sins – no matter what.
But let me tell you something as I end my story. The death of Christ is of no value to you if you don’t believe in Jesus for eternal life. You see, the relationship I have with Jesus Christ I only have because I believed in Jesus for eternal life.
It’s not that I became good person. I’m not. It’s not that started living a pretty good life. Well, I made some mistakes in my past, but now I’m doing okay. No, even now, I sin all the time.
It’s not that I believe God is so loving, he’ll let me in. Well, He is loving, but He is also just, so he can’t let the unrighteous into heaven. And in myself, I am unrighteous.
There’s a lot of people who think that being a good person will get them to heaven. But those who believe this… are denying Jesus.
You see, Jesus said this, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).
And he said elsewhere that anyone who believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). He said that anyone who believes in him, will not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24). He said that anyone who believes in him has eternal life (John 6:47).
And if Jesus said this, but you believe in yourself, or believe in your good works, you are denying Christ, because you’re not believing in him.
Jesus Christ has done everything that needs to be done. He even died on the cross for everything that we have done wrong. And his resurrection proved that his sacrifice was acceptable to God.
But to receive eternal life, Jesus says that everyone who believes in him alone for it, will receive it. Have you trusted in him alone? Have you believed in him alone?
Don’t deny Christ any longer – believe in him this day.
I must give credit to this book for helping me see the truth of the Six Denials of Peter: Life of Christ in Stereo: The Four Gospels Combined As One
Here is a list of the references used in this study, which you may use to perform your own study on the six denials of Jesus. Note that it is not certain that there were six denials, but if we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, there had to have been more than three for it is nearly impossible to get all the references to fit into only three denials.
2 Predictions of The Denials of Peter
Rooster 1 – John 13:38
Rooster 2 – Mark 14:30
6 Denials of Christ by Peter
- At the entrance, to the servant girl, before Sanhedrin meet (John 18:17).
- Jesus bound to be taken, standing around the fire, to men (John 18:25).
- Sitting around the fire, to the high priest’s servant girl (Matt 26:69-70; Mark 14:66-68; Luke 22:56-57). (Peter goes out of the courtyard; Matt 26:71; Mark 14:68; rooster one – Mark 14:68)
- Another woman and another man simultaneously accuse him (Matt 26:71-72; Luke 22:58).
- The servant girl again (Mark 14:69-70).
- Another man (Luke 22:59) — who is probably the kinsman of the one who’s ear Peter had cut off (John 18:26) — accuses him, and says that Peter’s “speech betrays him” (Matt. 26:73) This is where Peter’s speech really does do the betraying, for he utters curses and even swears. Peter’s speech betrays Jesus.(rooster two – Matt 26:75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:60-61)
This is apostasy by Peter. A public declaration of no relation to Christ. But this is also grace upon Peter. There were six denials, but have to really dig to find them. We all think it was only three.
6 Reaffirmations of Peter by Christ
- “And Peter” (Mark 16:7)
- Appeared to Simon (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5; 1 Pet 1:3ff)
- The appearance on the shore (John 21:1-21)
- Question 1 – Do you love (agape) me? (John 21:1-21)
- Question 2 – Do you love (agape) me? (John 21:1-21)
- Question 3 – Do you love (phileo) me? (John 21:1-21)
- We have all denied Christ. We have all sinned (Rom 3:23).
- The Death of Christ paid the penalty for all our sin (1 John 2:2).
- The Resurrection proves that Christ’s sacrifice was acceptable (1 Cor 15).
- Unbelievers must just believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47).
- Believers still sin – Grace covers even these (Rom 5:20).
- Confession and Repentance are for ongoing fellowship (1 John 1:9).
The cross of Jesus is CENTRAL to everything!
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Andrew Barker on Facebook says
Thanks Jeremy. Stimulating as ever. May comment further once I’ve read it carefully!
Matthew Richardson says
The first four gospels tell the Easter story from four different perspectives. It is easy to get them confused. After all one book says there was 1 angel at the tomb another says 3. Could it be that the references to the rooster crowing once and then twice could, in fact, be refering to the same instance, the second statement simply being more specific than the first ?
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, it could be. The book I based this post on would call that an “error” in the text. He tried to harmonize the Gospel accounts, and in so doing, came up with two rooter crows and 6 denials of Peter… But who knows? Maybe, as you say, it was just different reporting of the same event, with each proving different (and conflicting) details.
Matthew Richardson says
I haven’t read the passages myself but I wouldn’t assume that differences in details are, necesarily, conflictive. Different accounts may simply be remembering different details. I’ll take a look for myself and see what I can make of it.
Matthew Richardson says
Jesus stated that Peter would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows. It is worded differently in each of the 4 gospels but each clearly refers to the same statement. There was no second statement concerning another 3 denials. Interesting puzzle. Glad to have been involved. =)
Matthew Richardson says
Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe the 3 denials almost identically. John describes them differently but maintains a certain similarity. All 4 accounts speak of only 1 set of 3 denials.
Howard E. Chinn says
I wonder if we are not misreading Peters denial of Christ? I have heard that this account is not about Peter being weak. It is about the Savior telling Peter, you better deny Me. Because if you don’t, you will die with me? I wonder if Jesus told Peter he needed to live for his coming mission to the church.
I wonder if denying Christ out of fear would be uncharacteristic of Peter?
I have also considered Peter to be fearless? Just asking.
Jeremy Myers says
Hmm. Interesting. I have never heard that view before.
Rocky Millard says
Could someone explain why john 3:16 appeared to me as I closed my eyes trying to fall asleep I cant really explain why or how I seen it in my head. At first I did not even know it was a bible verse until I looked it up on google and to my surprise I found this which scared me For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I used to be catholic I believed in God as a kid but when I grew older I turned my back on God have not even been to church in 5 to 6 years now could this be a sign or is it a allusion I am making into a big deal which really aint that big of a deal maybe I gone insane I don’t know I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging to seek attention for this which I am not I am simply just looking for some insight on why this has occurred to me.
It is truth. Read all of Romans to be refreshed and reviewed, on just who Jesus is. This is the Holy Spirit talking to you.
The 6 denial view doesn’t solve anything imo.
Lets’s this as our reference: Luke 22:69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
In Luke 22:66,69 that happens after dawn.
In Mark 14:63,15:1 and Matt 26:64, 27:1 it happens before dawn