The night on which Jesus was betrayed and arrested was a long dark night for Peter. After a long conversation with Jesus (John 14-17) in which he prepared his disciples for his departure, they went to the garden to pray. There before his disciples Jesus prayed with great agony anticipating the excruciating suffering that awaited him. Afterwards when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter drew out his sword to attempt to impede it. But not being dexterous with it, he cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest. Wanting to be with Jesus and thanks to the connections John, the beloved disciple, had with the high priest, Peter was able to get into the courtyard where Jesus would be tried.
Upon entering, he was immediately recognized as being a disciple of Jesus by the servant girl at the door. But although he had valiantly professed his loyalty to Jesus, he proved to be a coward and denied him for the first time. Then, while he warmed himself next to the fire late into the night, he was asked once again if he was a disciple of Jesus, and for the second time he denied it. Later just before dawn, a relative of the man whose ear he cut off remembered having seen Peter at the garden when Jesus was arrested. For the third time, he “denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow” (John 18:27). Without a doubt at this time Peter remembered one of the last conversations he had with Jesus.
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! (John 13:37-38)
How sad it is to remember the times we have failed Jesus! Even though we prayed and promised to be faithful, we fell into sin and in that way we denied being his disciples. But as we remember his passion we should rejoice for despite the gravity of our sin, he died to forgive and restore us. Take some time today to meditate on your past failures and ask him for strength to overcome every temptation so that you will not deny him again with your words and actions.