You will deny me ...

And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

In the still of the darkest of nights two men stand listening to the testimony of witnesses. As Jesus stands before the religious court Peter faces a servant girl. The mettle of each man is being tested. In Christ we see a blazing example of courage under fire. In Peter we see a total capitulation to the forces of cowardice. The difference is starkly compelling.

Jesus had been preparing for such a moment his whole life. For years he had done the things that gave him the strength of heart to resist the temptation to capitulate to the high priest. Peter on the other hand was a man of fleshly strength and did not possess the inner power to stand under temptation. One man went to the cross and one wept bitterly.

Help me Lord to do things that strengthen my heart so that I will be able to resist temptation.

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