The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
On the cold night when Jesus was arrested, in the courtyard outside the place where Jesus was being questioned, Peter is warming himself at a fire with a group of people from the high priest’s household. He is not one of their fellow servants. Even in a large household it is likely that the stranger would be noticed. Who is he? In John 18:25-27 Peter is asked by one person if he is one of the disciples. He denies it. He is asked by another person if he was in the garden. This person is related to the servant who was attacked by Peter earlier. Aren’t you the person I saw there? Peter denies it again.
Immediately the rooster crowed. Jesus had told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster’s crow. This was Peter’s third denial. Jesus was exactly right.
When Jesus was arrested Peter’s courage melted. He went along to see what was happening, but he was not able to stand up to the situation. It’s relatively easy to proclaim our courage when we are not facing danger. When the odds are stacked against us we are more likely to flinch. That’s exactly what Peter did.
It looks like all is lost. Peter has denied his Lord. The Lord has been arrested. It seems like failure, doom, the end of the ride. We’re going to see all that turn around as we read on. In those times when our lives seem to be in deep trouble we can look to the fact that Jesus’ work is actually to forgive and restore. It doesn’t mean that we are in a bed of rose petals without thorns. It does mean that there is hope even when we have backed down in the face of our fears.
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