A Promise to Break
Peter sat incredulously listening to the words of his teacher and leader. For three years he had followed Jesus. He had followed Him down dusty roads, across stormy waters, and up deserted mountains. He had known the joy of redemption, the hope of forgiveness and according to what Jesus was telling him now he would soon know the heartbreak of denial.
Peter shifted his weight uneasily as he caught Jesus’ gaze.
“Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matthew 26:35 NKJV)
The words were sincere. Peters’ heart told him he would never deny his Lord but his mind would have a mind of its own. Jesus knew something Peter did not. The events of this page in history had been prewritten. The stage had been set, the lines rehearsed and now the inhabitants of heaven waited with bated breath as the curtain began to rise.
There was no accusation in Jesus voice as he spoke to Peter.
“I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34 NKJV)
The hour was late when the small band of men moved on to the Garden of Gethsemane as had been their custom. While the heart of Jesus grew troubled, the eyes of the disciples grew heavy. One by one they began to drift off to sleep while a few yards away Jesus prayed to the point of exhaustion. We are told ‘being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ (Luke 22:44 NKJV)
At last the time had come. Standing to His feet Jesus stepped from the sanctuary of prayer into the unseen corridors of destiny. This is what he had come for. This would be the moment in time that would forever serve as a promise of salvation to all mankind.
He awoke his disciples and even as he spoke Judas approached with those who would demand no less than than Jesus' life.
In an instant the sleeping disciples were on their feet. In the span of a few short moments their anger turned to fear. Everything their teacher had told them was coming to pass. A sword was drawn in a fatal attempt to stop the intruders from taking Jesus, but He would have none of it. Showing compassion even to those who despised Him, Jesus healed the wound and allowed Himself to be taken.
While the other disciples fled when Jesus was arrested, Peter followed as closely as he dared. He was determined to stay with his beloved teacher through it all. Coming to the home of the chief priest Peter settled himself by the small fire in the courtyard.
It didn’t take long for the accusations to fly. Without thinking Peter denied Jesus the first time. The second accusation came only a little while later and again Peter denied knowing Him. When for the third time Peter denied any association with Jesus the cock crowed and their eyes met. ‘Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.’
Though this is not the end of the events that took place that sacred night and the following day it is where I will end. You will read on to find out that Jesus would soon face the contempt of the people, wear the spit of a soldier and face the heartbreak of being separated from God for the sins of the world. He would be beaten, mocked and stripped. He would die on a wooden cross and would be laid to rest in a foreigners grave. But victory was His. He would rise on the third day proclaiming salvation for all who would call on Him. While you may wonder at the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter you must never wonder who was in control of the events that took place that day. For we as children of God know He is always in control.
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