Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:55-62)
He did it. He did it just the way Jesus said he would. He denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed before the dawn.
Peter didn’t have a gun to his head or a sword at his throat. He wasn’t being interrogated under intense light. He wasn’t threatened in any way. Two simply made the comment, “You were with him.” Another said, “You are one of them.” These people had no authority. The mob already had the one they wanted. But Peter is quick to respond, “I don’t know him, I wasn’t with him, and I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Peter was confident. He had a sword and wasn’t afraid to use it in the garden when the mob came for Jesus (John 18:10). But he wasn’t prepared for this. He wasn’t prepared to be one of them. Those who came with Jesus from Galilee. Those who ran alongside Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem like a king. Those who called him Christ.
Later, Peter would encourage believers to not only honor Jesus as Christ the Lord but also be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
We’ve been conditioned to think that we are going to encounter resistance at every turn. That’s not always true. Just because someone asks, “You’re a Christian, right?” doesn’t mean they’re your enemy. They might be interested in hearing what you believe. Or they might want someone to pray with them. Or they might be looking for a friend themselves.
What if Peter had simply been silent? What if after the servant girl said, “This man was also with him,” someone else said, “Really? What was he like? Did he really heal people?” He could have shared some amazing memories from the past three years. It would have been about Jesus, not about him.
Perhaps that’s the secret. It’s not about us. It’s always about him.
Lord, I guess I’m one of “them.” What story do you think I should tell?