Life of Jesus – Peter‟s Denial Foretold

Matthew 26:31-35
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me, for it is written: „I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.‟ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (31-33)  Jesus predicts that all the disciples will betray Him “this very night” (quoting from Zechariah 13:7), though Peter is singled out in response to his pledge of faithfulness  Peter’s promise is different from their reaction to Jesus’ prophecy of betrayal at the Lord’s supper just moments before, for they all questioned themselves and their own loyalty (26:22)  But here Peter speaks with resolve and determination, just as he did earlier when Jesus spoke prophetically of His suffering, death and resurrection – “Never, Lord!” (16:22)  Perhaps Peter was moved by Jesus’ words of His blood shed for the “new covenant” (28), the mention of the Father’s kingdom (29), and even emotional as they sang together (30) “I will tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And the other disciples said the same.” (34-45)  When Peter declared his allegiance to Jesus even to death, all the other disciples agreed  But when Jesus was arrested, just as predicted “all the disciples deserted Him and fled” (56)  Moments after their retreat, a servant girl recognized Peter as one who was “with Jesus” (60)  As she persisted, Peter twice denied knowing Jesus; then a third time with cursing (70-74)  When the rooster crowed, Peter remembered what Jesus said and “wept bitterly” (75)  Just as Peter denied the Lord three times, so he was given a chance to affirm his love for the resurrected Christ three times when asked: “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15)  Some believe “these” to be the other disciples, yet most likely Jesus referred to the abundance of fish just caught when He miraculously appeared on the water (John 21:1-11)  Even after Jesus was raised from the dead, Peter and the others lacked direction and went back to their old way of life (this changed at Pentecost when empowered by the Holy Spirit)  Though Jesus had challenged them to be “fishers of men” (4:19), they were fishing for fish  When Peter answered “You know that I love you” – Jesus said “Feed My lambs” (John 21:15)  Three denials, then three questions of love for Christ and Peter gives three affirmative answers  Jesus knew Peter would fail initially, but also knew Peter would ultimately be faithful to death  “When you are old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” – Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God” (John 21:19-20)