The Goal of the Godly

Lesson 20

Peter loved Jesus, but he also loved the approval of the crowd. During the last supper when Jesus warned the apostles that they would all forsake Him, Peter jumped to his feet and brashly vowed that even if all others would be offended, he would never forsake Him. Jesus replied, "This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Verse 34.

Peter meant well, but he did not recognize the pride in his own heart. Later that night 

when the mob came to arrest Jesus and all were watching, Peter pulled out a sword to defend His Master. But just a few hours later at His trial, as Peter was being mocked by the enemies of Jesus, he denied three times that he even knew Him. Each time Peter became more bold, until he finally denied Him with swearing and cursing (Verse 74).

Then the rooster crowed. At that very moment, Jesus was in the judgment hall, being beaten by the guards. Peter saw Jesus turn and look at him with love and compassion, and it broke his heart. "And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." Luke 22:61, 62.

From that day forward, Peter was a different man. He no longer lived to please the crowd, but was determined to please only God. After his conversion, when brought before the Jewish council and threatened with beating if he continued preaching about Jesus, Peter fearlessly answered, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. Peter forever proved his loyalty and love for Jesus when he chose to be crucified upside down by the Roman emperor Nero rather than to deny his Lord again.