While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Today marks the half-way point on our journey through lent.
Peter is just like me. I think Peter is a lot like all of us. How often do we swear undying allegiance to the cause of Christ only to deny ever knowing him in the next breath. Often, the denial doesn’t come directly from our lips – it comes from what we do. We may say we’re following Jesus with our words (sometimes) but everything we do in our lives give evidence to the contrary: language we use, attitudes toward others, even our attitude toward God.
Here, for Peter, he sees the effects of his decision immediately and realizes just what he’s done. It’s easier for us because he’s not right there with us – at least not physically – but the pain we inflict is still real. We may not be striking out or spitting on Jesus, but the wounds happen just the same.