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author on June 2nd, 2010

About a month ago we read how Jesus had predicted the scattering of the disciples and, in particular, how Peter would deny Jesus three times. At the time, Peter could not conceive of any reason he would ever deny his Lord.

Now Peter is in the High Priest’s courtyard warming himself with others by the fire (Mark 14:66Mark 14:66
English: World English Bible - WEB

66 As Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the maids of the high priest came,

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). A servant girl saw him and recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples and publicly “outed” him (Mark 14:67Mark 14:67
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67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!”

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). There were probably a lot of people in the courtyard – a mix of soldiers, servants and others – and Jesus was likely the topic of conversation among them.

But Peter did exactly what Jesus had predicted: he denied his Lord! Peter, the man willing to fight to the death, who proclaimed “I will never disown you” (Mark 14:31Mark 14:31
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31 But he spoke all the more, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” They all said the same thing.

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), was brought to shame by a petite little servant girl. Peter moved away to the entryway of the courtyard, but the servant girl pointed him out again among the people there! Peter again denied knowing Jesus.

Later, others determined that Peter was indeed  one of Jesus’ disciples (Mark 14:70Mark 14:70
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70 But he again denied it. After a little while again those who stood by said to Peter, “You truly are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.”

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). At this point, Peter flipped out, calling curses down on himself and swore to them that he did not know Jesus (Mark 14:71Mark 14:71
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71 But he began to curse, and to swear, “I don’t know this man of whom you speak!”

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).

Then the rooster crowed (Mark 14:72Mark 14:72
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72 The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered the word, how that Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” When he thought about that, he wept.

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).

There is a challenge that Christians sometimes bring to one another: “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” There was enough evidence – multiple witnesses – to convict Peter, which under normal circumstances would be a burden Peter would gladly bear. But in circumstances such as these – his Lord on trial inside, separation from his fellow disciples, and probably among a crowd who did not follow Jesus – Peter found himself unable to stand alone.

But it was this failure – this trial of his own – which prepared him to become the leader of the disciples and empowered him to speak boldly about Jesus before thousands and behind prison walls.

What trials or failures have you suffered? I can recount many of my own. Sometimes they made me strong and sometimes I failed again by not learning the lesson the first time. It is so important that we learn the right lesson from each experience so that we will be able to respond correctly the next time.

Write down your most humiliating experiences, the times you failed to handle a situation right, and think about the correct way to respond. We cannot learn and grow in strength if we blame our adversary or develop some unfounded phobia or fear. We have to be responsible and objective, so that we can have victory over our past weaknesses. Then we can be used powerfully by God – then we are true disciples.