Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth. But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.” – Mark 14:66-72.
I can identify with Peter. I think most of us can. I identify with him for several reasons. One is that I can relate to Peter’s missteps,weaknesses, and failures. But I am also challenged by the post-resurrection dynamo that Peter becomes. For Peter, Jesus’ resurrection changed everything. He is restored, commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This impetuous fisherman who would hide and disassociate himself from Jesus (see verses above) becomes the one who stands before the crowds on Pentecost—calling 3,000 people to repentance.
Peter, who had been hit-or-miss throughout the gospels, now gives the first resurrection sermon. Acts 4:33 tells us, “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” His message features this powerful testimony to the resurrection:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus,delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (Acts 2:22-24)
In these verses, Peter gives his version of “just the facts.” He asserts that Jesus was shown to be from God by the miracles, wonders and signs which he performed among them. This Jesus was crucified and put to death. This was all a part of God’s eternal plan. God raised Jesus up because it was impossible for death to have the final say on Him.
Peter’s sermon shows that something dramatic, something supernatural, had happened inside of him. And Peter clearly communicates the origin of this change in the salutation of his first epistle: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,. . . “ (1 Peter 1:3)
Like Peter, we make mistakes. We sin. Like Peter we can feel the pain later, knowing the hurt we have caused and we can cry. Like Peter we can feel unforgiven, unforgivable. Many times we, like Peter, are captive to our fear and doubt about who Jesus is and what He is calling us to do in this life. Because of the reality of the resurrection, we have the power to overcome that fear and doubt and live the kind of life God wants us to live.
- Can you identify with Peter? How so?
- Read Matthew 26:57-75. When Jesus was arrested, Peter followed from a distance so that he could see what was going on. Was this a risky and potentially dangerous thing for Peter to do? Would this have filled you with fear?
- Read John 20:1-10, 19-23: What did the power of the resurrection communicate to Peter and the other disciples? Was there reason for them to continue living in fear and doubt?
- Reads Acts 2:14. What caused Peter to go from denying Christ to boldly proclaiming Christ before men?