I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Israel!!!
This morning I read the account of Peter’s denials. He caved to the pressure, failed Christ, and responded with deep remorse. He wept bitterly. How do I respond when I fail Christ? Am I cavalier about it? “Oh, I’ll just confess it. I’ll just ask forgiveness. No big deal.” Did Peter weep bitterly because he looked Jesus in the eye and saw how much he’d hurt his Lord? I think the closer you walk with Jesus, the less you trifle, the more remorse you feel when you fail him. Then it becomes personal.
On a study note, it was interesting seeing how Zarley harmonizes the denial accounts verses how Cheney did in Life of Christ in Stereo.
Cheney argues for six denials, 3 before the rooster crows once, and another 3 before it crows a second time. He argues that the gospels point to more than 3 different people that Peter denied Christ to.
Personally, I like Zarley’s argument. Each of the gospels records Jesus predicting Peter will deny Christ 3 times, and then each records 3 denials. If there were more than 3, at least one of the gospels (Luke in particular) would point that out.
Also, the differing accounts can be harmonized when you take into account that both Peter and John were eyewitnesses to the denials.
Matthew and Mark record almost identical accounts, no doubt from Peter’s viewpoint as the one telling Mark what to write. They each record conversations with two different servant girls and then a third unidentified person.
John records Peter’s denial to a servant girl, to an unidentified person, and to a relative of Malchus.
Luke, through his research, identifies Peter’s first denial to a woman and the next two to men. Perhaps Luke took into account both eyewitness accounts and harmonized them for us.
Zarley’s argument is that Peter denying Christ 3 times does not necessarily mean to just 3 people, but rather 3 different time segments. Luke spaces the three denials apart in time. So Zarley would argue that for the second denial, Peter is speaking to the servant girl and to others (men included) standing around the fire. Maybe the girl brings up the subject and Peter denies knowing Jesus, to which another man standing there essentially says, “Now wait a minute. How can you tell us you weren’t with Him?” To which Peter gets even more emphatic. But both of these, as part of the same exchange, would be considered as just one denial. Peter recounts the story speaking of his reply to the girl, while John focuses on the follow up reply to the man.
In reference to how many times the rooster crowed, Zarley makes the point that saying it will happen before the rooster crows doesn’t necessarily mean that it is NOT the second time it crowed that night. Adding the detail of “the second time” in this case would be adding more detail for further clarification, because that phrase actually referred to a specific time in the morning (I think 2am).
Makes sense to me 🙂
What does’t make sense is how Peter could deny Jesus. But I guess it also doesn’t make sense that I would give in to temptation and sin, failing and hurting the One I claim to love. I guess the bigger question is, when I do fail Him, do I feel remorse? Remorse in this case is a reflection of love. The more I love Him, the deeper remorse I should feel when I sin. It’s personal.
Have I ever wept bitterly over my sin like Peter did because I’ve hurt the One who willingly laid down His life for me? Have I looked Him in the eyes, felt the pain He feels when I fail Him, and grieved over my own sin?
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