Jesus Is Disowned For Me
There once was a group of guys who went camping. And, since it was cold outside they wanted to start a fire. So each of them went out into the darkness in the forest to find wood. There were for guys who went to find wood. And three came back. And the three were wondering what happened to the one gut who was not there with them. Well, the fourth guy had stumbled through a bunch of bushes in the darkness. The bushes scraped up his clothing and his face. But finally he gathered enough sticks and came back to the campsite. When he got there there was already a fire blazing. So he got close to the fire and set down his branches. And when he came into the light the three guys began to laugh at him. They asked him if the reason he was so late was because he was putting make up on his face. He didn’t know what they were talking about until he put his hand up to his face and realize that he must have walked through some berries as he was making his way through the bushes. And his cheeks were extra red. There is a risk in coming into the light. If you come into the light the people see the stains on your skin. Tonight in this part of God’s word, we see Peter come into the light. But what is exposed is not the stains on his skin, but instead, the stains on his soul. In Luke 22, we read: “54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” ” (Luke 22:54–60 NIV11-GKE)
In these words Peter wants, needs to follow Jesus. And so he follows from a distance. But he’s not close enough to see what is going on. So he gets closer and closer. And he would have been safe if only he stayed in the darkness. But he was cold. So he wanted to warm up. So he made the choice to get close to the fire. But where there is a fire there isn’t just heat. There’s also light. And when he came into the light, people could see him. And even worse, they could see the stain on his soul. And what follows is an interrogation. There’s a small group of people there gathered around the fire. And after a little while, there’s a servant girl, probably a teenager there. She accuses Peter of being one of the ones who was with Jesus. Peter is afraid of what she says because he wants to find out what it going on with Jesus. But he doesn’t want to be put on trial and then be put to death like Jesus is. So, the fear inside of him is replaced by anger. He lashes out against the girl and says, “no!” He denies knowing Jesus. He, with his words, disowns Jesus. And, sadly, this same event happens three times in a row. One man repeats what the servant girl said. Then another man asserts the same accusation with even more severity. And, if the accusations against Peter were more and more severe, Peters denials were more and more severe.
As we look at what Peter did, so many hundreds of years later, we are ashamed of what Peter did. Not once, but three times he denied even knowing Jesus, let alone following him. But, my dear friends in Christ, these words are not written just for Peter. These words are written for us too. For Peter isn’t the only one who has denied Jesus’ name and disowned him. We too have done the same—even thousands of times in our lives. Sure, the ways we denied Jesus are more subtle. But they are real sins. Martin Luther in his description of the second commandments writes these words:
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we do not use his name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, or use witchcraft, but call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.
How many times have we used God’s name to curse, to swear, to lie, and deceive others? Each of those times we denied Jesus. How many times should we have called on God’s name in whatever trouble we were in, but instead calling on God’s name to ask for help is what we did when every other plot and plan inside of us fell apart. Peter had three massive betrayals. But we have had thousands of betrayals where we misused God’s name or didn’t use his name at all when we should have. Peter denies Jesus three times. But what happens next: “60 Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:60–62 NIV11-GKE)
Martin Luther once said that most amazing display of the gospel is found in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve disown the Lord. In Genesis 3, does what is shocking and astounding. It’s amazing that the Lord appears in the garden at all. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve and started over. He had every right to. We see the same care and compassion here in Jesus. Jesus has his hands full when he is on trial. But, out of love for Peter, he looks over to him across the courtyard precisely when the rooster is crowing.
But these words are even more amazing than that. For Jesus doesn’t just look at Peter. Jesus also look into Peter.1 When Jesus looked at Peter his gaze bored and borrowed deep into his heart and soul. His gaze asked one question, “I have only been kind to you. So why did you deny me and disown me?” That’s what drove Peter to leave and weep bitterly.
And my friends, doesn’t Jesus do the same with us? Jesus approaches us with his word. And that word seizes our consciences. It shows us where we should have trusted in God’s name and used God’s name for good and not for bad. But we did the opposite. And that same word creates inside us true hatred of our sin and true repentance in us.
But my friends, Jesus did not leave Peter there weeping in the darkness of the night. And does not abandon us either. Jesus was disowned by us. But if we look ahead just a few hours we see just the opposite. The rooster crows and a new day begins. Good Friday arrived. And that was the day on which, instead of Jesus being disowned by us, Jesus was disowned for us. On the cross Jesus said those amazing words, ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” (Matthew 27:46 NIV11-GKE) Jesus was disowned by us. But Jesus was disowned by his Father above. And he was disowned for us. Because of this we can know and trust that all the thousands of times we used, abused, and abandoned God’s name are forgiven. Because Jesus was disowned for us, instead of hiding in the dark, we can step into the light and confess our sins. Because he was disowned for us, we know our sins are forgiven. Amen.
1 “ⲉⲛⲉⲃⲗⲉⲯⲉⲛⲧⲱⲡⲉⲧⲣⲱ·” (Luke 22:61 GNT-ALEX)