“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?”
“No,” they replied.
“But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”
“Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”
“That’s enough,” he said.
Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.
But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”
So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”
But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”
“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”
But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at him.
I woke with dried tears around my eyes like sleep dust. My ankle throbbed beneath the covers, reminding me of yesterday’s news: my injury was serious. Despair set in. I thought I was getting better, but now recovery felt entirely out of sight. Soon, shame set in. I wasn’t handling the waiting well; my circumstances were dictating my life. I told myself that I should trust Jesus and ask Him for peace, knowing that He is in control and has my best intentions in mind. But like my recovery, He felt out of reach.
I wonder how Peter felt when he looked Jesus in the eyes after denying Him — not once but three times, and just hours after Jesus had foretold it. Peter had propped himself up as Jesus’ “ride-or-die” companion. He swore his loyalty to Jesus, boldly proclaiming he was ready to follow Him anywhere, into anything, including intense suffering.
In verses 61-62, Jesus helps Peter see the bitter truth about himself: Peter would follow, but instead of remaining with Jesus in His darkest hours, Peter would abandon Him first.
Peter remembered this prophecy in the moment, but did Peter recall the grace-filled encouragement that came before it? Jesus had prefaced His warning with reassurance in verse 32. In the same conversation, Jesus revealed that Peter would fail miserably and that he would recover. Jesus’ prayers would preserve Peter’s faith, and Peter’s recovery would come with the godly purpose of strengthening his brothers.
Likewise, when you mess up, Jesus isn’t surprised or distant. He saw your failure coming. Jesus not only endured abandonment and denial from some of His closest followers, but faced both emotional and physical torment while bearing the weight of God’s justice. Jesus intervened for you on the cross. And Hebrews 7:25 states that, just like He did for Peter, Jesus forever lives to intercede for you and restore your relationship with Him. So that, like Peter, you will reach the other side of failure — for His glory and your good.
What is one failure or disappointment in your life for which you struggle to imagine recovery or restoration?
Reflect on how Jesus had the foresight to see your struggle coming and also has the foresight and power to provide a way of recovery. Experience God’s grace in revealing to you the truth about yourself and your circumstances.
Jesus, thank You for Your patient endurance. Thank You that you made the way for me to have a restored relationship with you. I surrender to You. Give me faith to trust that You will give me the grace I need now. Help me to trust that You will carry me through and give me purpose on the other side of this disappointment and failure.
What happens when I feel like I’ve failed God? Explore more about God’s forgiveness when we inevitably fail Him.
Chealsia Smedley serves with the City ministry of Cru® as a podcast host and writer for Created For. Created For is a platform that seeks to be a place for BIPOC Christians to experience God’s love, embrace their unique calling and engage in communal restoration for God’s glory and human flourishing. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and tells stories that unite her passions for truth and connection.
As a follower of Jesus, you can have confidence through His resurrection that your sins are forgiven. Everything Jesus promised in His teachings you can trust to be true. You are a child of God, and you will live forever with Him.
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced dark moments when you’ve felt alone. When the power of death felt present in your life. When you’ve been without. Easter Saturday, and the words of Isaiah, remind us that Jesus, too, experienced what we do.
Reflect with us on what Jesus endured and why He died.
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