Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
After the author, John, tells us about what’s going on inside the room where Jesus is being interrogated, he jumps back to talk about Peter. Here Peter denies knowing Jesus a second and third time. Let’s look at this same account in another New Testament book, Luke 22:58-61, “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.”
Most of us can relate with Peter. We all make mistakes (Romans 3:23). There is absolutely no one who has led a perfect life outside of Jesus. We have good intentions but when we are encapsulated with fear or following only our emotions, we do and say things that we regret. Mark 14:31, records that the evening when Jesus was arrested Peter had said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Now, being overwhelmed with fear, Peter is denying three times that he even knew Jesus. Clearly, after Peter heard the rooster crow and made eye contact with Jesus, he was extremely sorrowful and repented as he wept over his choices.
We have good intentions but when we are encapsulated with fear or following only our emotions, we do and say things that we regret.
Like Peter, when we do something wrong, we can repent and find forgiveness, mercy and love from our gracious Abba, Father. We don’t ever have to stay as a prisoner – held captive to our past mistakes, fear, guilt and shame. We can follow Peter’s example of getting back in a right relationship with God. He repented, surrendered his heart to God, turned to Him in prayer and gave up his sin. The result was that his sin and shame were washed away, and he was set free to become a confident and fearless leader.
His story became his ministry. He could now tell people not to be afraid when they are threatened (which he had done during his denial), but instead to share the hope that’s in you. Here’s what he wrote in 1 Peter 3:14-17, “So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats...And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it… Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (NLT)”
Are you holding on to guilt or shame about your past mistakes? Would you like to live in freedom and confidence like Peter did? If the answer is, “yes,” you can begin that journey today. Talk to Jesus about the past mistakes or regrets that are holding you captive. Here’s a great scripture from Job 11:13-18 that instructs us on how to do this, “Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry.” You may want to write this verse down on a 3x5 card and be reminded of it throughout the day. You are set free to be confident and fearless!