“Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 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.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)
I live at the end of a cul-de-sac. The road leading to my home is pretty narrow so when my neighbors park in front of their houses the road gets even narrower. I have good neighbors. They are pleasant, will say hi and hello, and generally look out for you. So when I associate you with common decency and good manners, and someone coming to visit you parks adjacent to another car or blocks my gate or leaves their car in the middle of the road I am surprised. Why? Because if you as my neighbor go out of your way to be considerate, then I assume that your friends or associates will be considerate as well even if just by nature of association.
This thinking is not as far-fetched as it may sound at first. Remember what our mothers always told us: “You are known by the friends you keep.” Associate with alcoholics, people assume you drink. Associate with drug addicts, people assume you are a crack head. Associate with positive, career driven professionals, people assume you are goal oriented and on your way to being a successful contributor to your society.
I said all of the above to say that Peter’s denial of Jesus had many different facets. It was not only about Jesus’ foretelling of the future or of Peter’s pain after the fact. It was also about association, as evidenced by the accusation: “You also are one of them.” By extension, it was also about the price we may pay for said association … and we all know that Peter was unwilling to pay the price he knew Jesus was about to pay; hence his denial.
As we move through this Holy Week I encourage you to stand tall and be a witness to our Lord and savior. He died for us and He is coming again – those are the facts we cling to, associate with and can never deny. As a result we will not let Jesus turn and look straight at us or weep bitterly like Peter, crowing rooster or no crowing rooster.
Do I hear an Amen?