Mark 14: 66-72: Missed chances
“66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said. 68 But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entrance. 69 When the servant-girl saw him there, she said again to those standing round them, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ 70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’ 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’ 72 Immediately the cock crowed the second time.Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the cock crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” NIV UK
During this Christmas, you may find yourself in a situation where the ball is at your feet, as it were, and you have an open goal mouth in front of you. Don’t boot the ball over the bar! Don’t miss a ‘sitter.’ I say this as one who regrets missed opportunities in the past.
I can’t look on Peter with a superior and critical attitude. I know how fear can turn you into a person you hardly recognise; the kind of person you never intended to be; never thought you would be. Peter had shown bravery to follow Jesus as far as he did. But now he smelled danger close by if he came clean about being a Christ follower.
We have to read these words in conjunction with some others found in earlier verses (28-31). Pride does go before a fall. Peter had been full of self-confidence. But Jesus’ word always proves true. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is so easy to utter fine sounding words about our relationship with Jesus; words that just crumble in the face of a test or a crisis.
The story of the walking on the water tells Peter’s life story in picture form: hearing Jesus’ call-following -sinking (nearly drowning) – restoration. Thank God for the restoration bit. It gives hope to us all.