The Apostle Peter missed the crucifixion.
Doesn’t that seem rather odd?
Peter had walked on water (Matthew 14:29), saw Jesus transfigured (Matthew 17:1-4) and testified Jesus to be the Son of God (Matthew 16:16). Simon Peter had paid Jesus’ temple tax (Matthew 17:27) and stood nearby when Jesus raised a little girl from the dead (Luke 8:51). In fact, Peter’s name is mentioned more than any other disciple in the gospels. After all, he was one of Jesus’ inner three.
But, he was also the very one targeted for the pitchfork of the evil one.
Yes, Satan “demanded permission to sift” Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31). Of course, Peter resolutely rejected this idea. His experiences with Jesus were too many. Simon’s love for Christ too strong (Luke 22:33).
Peter even rallied in the garden. He is the only one mentioned having a sword with him at the last prayer meeting. But evidently, the fisherman in him wasn’t very skilled at fencing. Peter missed the target and grazed an ear instead (John 18:10).
In the end, all of Peter’s boasting fizzled over a few simple questions. He denied knowing the very Man he had vowed to protect (Luke 22:54-60) and to top it off, the Lord caught him in the midst of it. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter (Luke 22:61). How humiliating.
So Peter stumbled out and did what I would do: “wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). These two Greek words gives us insight as to the depths of his despair. Klaiō (wept) was most often used as a mourning or lament used over the dead, while pikrōs (bitterly) was filled with a poignant sense of regret. This second word is used only twice in the Bible – both in reference to Peter.
No, Peter wasn’t nearby at the crucifixion. He didn’t have to watch the ordeal to know intense grief. He was humiliated and realized that all of his boasting had proved worthless. He had failed.
But, from God’s perspective, this wasn’t considered failure. Before he could receive a faith “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7), Peter had to walk through the darkest hour of his life. Jesus “turned to look at Peter” with sorrow for Peter because He knew the pain Simon would have to endure before he could have steadfast faith (Luke 22:32).
And when the Lord rose again, He went specifically to Peter. Jesus wanted to let him know everything between them was still okay (Luke 24:34). Isn’t that amazing?
Sometimes, our flesh and our heart have to fail in order for us to realize Who is really our strength (Psalm 73:26). We have to be pierced with His word before we can truly do that for which we have been called (Psalm 73:21, 1 Peter 4:1).
But the One who reveals our faithlessness doesn’t forsake us (Jeremiah 3:12). His conviction restores. He takes us through the valley of shadows so He can reveal true purpose for us.
You too may feel that you didn’t deserve for Him to die for you. But, your feelings didn’t stop Him (Romans 5:6). In fact, He is still praying for you anyway (Hebrews 7:25). Don’t miss His resurrection life – He is alive and waiting just for you (Revelation 3:20).
Above photography by Sara Jeng Grewar. Follow her on Instagram!
Thank You for choosing me. It’s amazing to think that I am not only chosen for eternal life, but actually chosen to obey (1 Peter 1:2).
Yet, I know myself.
Left as I am, I have no capacity for spiritual growth. I am selfish and want things to center around me.
Thank You that in Your death, You gathered up all of my ugliness and took it to the grave with You. In a very unfair trade (at least on Your part), You infused me with Your life, so that I don’t have to continue on the disintegrating path I was on.
To top it off, since You have allowed Your same life to flow through me, You also opened the treasures of heaven to be mine as well (1 Peter 1:3-4). Wow.
I have to admit that sometimes I don’t think I am actually going to make it to the end day. Some of the days before me seem awfully long and tedious. Yet, You have promised that I’m protected for the final reality (1 Peter 1:5). I’m claiming onto that promise and not going to let You forget it (as if you could :).
So, as I walk through today’s pressings and meltings, I remember the true value that You are refining within me. You work each and every situation into an event that will purify my faith into a vessel, useful in Your Hands (1 Peter 1:6-7). I do so want that.
I love You (1 Peter 1:8).