⁶⁶As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came, ⁶⁷and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.”
⁶⁸But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch.
⁶⁹The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!”
⁷⁰But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.”
⁷¹But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”
⁷²Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.
Vs. 66. Peter was beneath in the palace
This little word “beneath”, one of the Evangelist’s graphic touches, is most important for the right understanding of what we may call the topography of the scene.
We must take it in connection with Matthew’s word (Matthew 26:69): “Now Peter sat without in the palace”, or quadrangular court, in the center of which the fire would be burning; and crowding around and buzzing about it would be the menials and others, who had been admitted within the court.
At the upper end of this court, probably, would be the memorable chamber, open to the court, in which the trial was held. Likely this was not far from the fire (as we can understand from Luke 22:61, but on a higher level; for, as our verse says, the court, with Peter in it, was “beneath” it.
The ascent to the Council chamber was perhaps by a short flight of steps. If you will bear this explanation in mind, you will find the intensely interesting details which follow, more intelligible.
There comes one of the maids of the high priest to him. From John 18:17 we know that it was the girl or woman that kept the door.
The Jews seem to have employed women as porters of their doors (Acts 12:13).
Vs. 68. He denied it
Peter’s denying of the Christ began by keeping at a distance from him.
Those that are shy of godliness, are far in the way to deny Christ.
And those who think it is dangerous to be in company of Christ’s disciples, because they may be drawn in to suffering for Him there, will find out, that it is much more dangerous to be in company with his enemies, because there they may be drawn into sin against Him.
When the Christ was admired and flocked after, Peter readily owned him; but will own no relation to Him, now He is deserted and despised.
Yet observe, Peter’s repentance followed immediately.
▪︎ Let him who thinks that he stands, take care that he will not fall.
▪︎ And let him that has fallen, think of these things, and of his own offences, and return to the Lord with weeping and supplication, seeking forgiveness, and to be raised up by the Holy Spirit.
From this story we may learn that:
- How contemptible means God often uses to take down our pride and self-confidence. Peter, a great apostle, is here humbled by the means of two maids.
- How naturally one sin leads to another. Peter first tells a lie, then to lying he adds swearing and cursing.
- How necessary it is for us, if we want to keep away from sin, to keep out of the company of sinners. David said: I am a companion of them that fear Thee, Psalms 119:63.
- How profitable the words from God are for the time to come. Eventhough we may not find not the use and advantage of them at the moment we hear them.
- How different the sins of reprobates and saints are, as to the consequences and issues.
▪︎ Judas sins, repents, and hangs himself; Peter goeth out and weepeth bitterly.
▪︎ Judas repents unto death; Peter repents unto life.
According to the Jewish regulations in the Talmud (the most important scripture of Judaism next to the O.T.) it was forbidden to keep chickens in the center of Jerusalem. The area surrounding the temple was sacred ground. It should not be scratched, otherwise vermin could emerge and the soil would be contaminated.
But the Roman occupiers ignored this prohibition. That’s why it was so obvious when a rooster crowed. Peter is struck by it. It happened after all! While he had imagined it so differently.
A few hours ago he said he was willing to die with and for Jesus (Mark 14:26-31). He meant that with all his heart, because Jesus was everything to him. He would be brave. Jesus would see that He could count on him!
▪︎ That a maid made such a stupid comment, you should not pay any attention to it. You shouldn’t waste your energy on that. You had to silence that woman as soon as possible (Mark 14:66-68).
▪︎ A little later she starts to whine again. But you should not let that put you off (Mark 14:69,70). He has something else on his mind. Now he must be careful to not be captured as well. Soon he will show how much he loves Jesus.
▪︎ If some banal remark is made to him for the third time, he immediately cuts it off. Now it must be over with that nagging. In a powerful way he puts an end to it (Mark 14: 70,71).
And then suddenly the rooster crows for the second time (Mark 14:72) …
While Peter was waiting for the big thing to do, he stumbled over the small thing. Repelling a silly comment is fatal to him.
It is so very sad, so miserable. Peter’s discipleship shrinks and he stumbles away (Mark 14:72).
The crowing of the cock heralds the day on which Jesus also atoned Peter’s guilt (Compare John 21:15-17).
When it comes down to it, nothing will remain of us. Unfaithful as we can be.
But just for such poor people as us, Jesus wants to be the Savior!
He completely blots out our guilt (Micah 7:18,19; Ephesians 1:7)!
▪︎ What does 1 Corinthians 15:9,10 mean to you?
▪︎ Thank God that Jesus always wants to be everything to you.
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