March 10, 2017

Promises Broken

John 18:12-18, 25-27

Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

—  John 18:27

Earlier that night, Peter promised to be there for Jesus, no matter what—even at the cost of his own life. Now, in the coldest hours before dawn, Peter stands idly by, warming himself at the courtyard fire outside the high priest’s house. Peter is outside while who-knows-what is happening to Jesus inside.

While he waits, Peter has three opportunities to show some recall of at least a fraction of his promised support. “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”

And Peter lets each opportunity slip by as he denies even knowing about Jesus. In Matthew’s account of this scene, Peter’s responses grow more forceful each time, and he finally calls down curses and exclaims, “I don’t know the man!” (Matthew 26:74).

This was the testimony of Peter, who previously had recognized Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter had also seen Jesus clothed in heavenly glory and had heard the voice of God speaking from a cloud (Matthew 17:1-5).

“I will always be there for you, Jesus,” Peter had promised, in effect.

Then he disappeared into the night.

esus, we know you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Holy Spirit, work in us so that the people around us will know that we are followers, disciples, and friends of Jesus. In his name, Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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