The Gospel of Luke:a commentary & meditation

"Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times"

Scripture: Luke 22:54-71

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house. Peter followed at a distance; 55 and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, "This man also was with him." 57 But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know him." 58 And a little later some one else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not." 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, "Certainly this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean." 60 But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying." And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed.  61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times." 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
63 Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him; 64 they also blindfolded him and asked him, "Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?" 65 And they spoke many other words against him, reviling him. 66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 "If you are the Christ, tell us." But he said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer.  69 But from now on the Son of man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God." 70 And they all said, "Are you the Son of God, then?" And he said to them, "You say that I am." 71 And they said, "What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips."
Meditation: How can faith be sustained in adversity? Peter was one of the two disciples who had the courage to follow Jesus in his passion.  John was with Jesus when he hung upon the cross at Golgatha.  Peter's courage, however, gave way to fear, fear for his own life.  Peter was overconfident in his own strength and now he must pay the price for his own disloyalty and denial of the Lord Jesus. After Peter's third denial Jesus "turned and looked at Peter".  Was Jesus angry at him?  Jesus most likely looked with sorrow and pity for Peter. Peter, after all, had been warned by his Master that temptation would come and he would fail the test. Luke records that Peter "wept bitterly".  Unlike Judas who killed himself because his shame was devoid of any hope for forgiveness and restoration, Peter's grief is filled with sorrow for offending his Lord.  Do you look to the Lord for the strength and help to persevere at all times and to remain faithful to him?

Jesus was cross-examined by the high priest and then handed over to the temple guard for sake-keeping. This was a private and unofficial examination.  The high priest, by law, had to wait until morning before he could call the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the Jews, to try Jesus. In the meantime he wanted to find some charge to level against Jesus. Jesus' captors used mockery and physical intimidation to trip up his testimony.  They hoped he would say something they could use as evidence of criminal action. When they pressed Jesus for his claim to be the Christ (or Messiah in Hebrew) and the Son of God, he did not deny it but stated simply, "I am". They understood the claim to be the Son of God an insult to God's majesty and therefore blasphemy, which was punishable by death.  Jesus bore ill-treatment, mockery, and the charge of blasphemy with peace and confidence.  He knew in the end that truth would triumph and that he would be set down at the right hand of God in his kingdom.  In faith he knew beyond a doubt that what men would try to do to him could not thwart the purposes of God.  Do you have hope and confidence in Christ's victory over sin and death through his passion, death, and resurrection?

"Lord Jesus, you willingly suffered for our sake and for our salvation.  You took upon yourself the burden of our guilt and the punishment due to our sins.  Strengthen my faith and help me in my trials that I may never deny you or forsake your ways."

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 (c) 1999, 2000 Don Schwager