The Great Denial
He denied before them all. — Matt 26:70
One thing that made Peter’s denial so peculiarly sad was that he had received so many marks of special favour from Christ. He was one of three disciples who had been taken into the inner circle of friendship. The more Jesus has done for us, the worse is it for us to prove unfaithful to Him.
Another thing was that Peter had so boldly confessed Christ. It was he who said, when Jesus asked the disciples whom they believed Him to be, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was he who, just a few hours before his denial, so vehemently avowed his loyalty and his readiness to die with his Lord. These repeated protestations of fidelity made the evil of denial more grievous. It is a greater sin for one who has publicly declared his love for Christ to prove disloyal to Him than for one who has never made such confession.
Another thing that made the sin worse was the fact that Jesus had forewarned Peter. We say “forewarned is forearmed;” but it did not prove so in this instance, because the disciple utterly disregarded the Master’s warnings. We are all warned of danger; do we heed the signals?
Still another aggravation was that it was in our Lord’s hour of sorest need that the disciple denied Him. Had it been in some time of popular favour, the denial would not have been so base; but it was when Jesus was deserted, and was in the hands of His enemies. Was that a time for the bravest disciple, the most honoured friend, the noblest confessor, to turn his back on his Master?
When the shadow falls on your friend, when the tide has turned against him, when others fall away from him, is that the time for you, his long-time bosom companion, the recipient of his favours, to turn craven and desert and deny him?