Why Include Peter’s Denial in the Gospel?

Peter’s actions have nothing to do with the macro themes of Christ and his cross or his death for us. It could be removed and we would still have the gospel and a clear Christology. Why include what’s going on in the courtyard with Peter when the real story is in the house with Jesus?

Peter pictures our weaknesses and highlights the strength and courage of Christ

The courtyard and the house are a kind of parable of human weakness and divine strength.

The Courtyard                                  The House

Peter                                                           Jesus

I will die for you                                    I will die for you

Fear                                                            Courage

Deception                                                Truth

Betrayal                                                    Faithfulness

Failure                                                       Success

The point is not that we should be like Jesus in the house and not like Peter in the courtyard, but that we are by nature like Peter. This realization ought to cause us to look at the One in the house and realize that he is utterly worthy of adoration. We see Jesus’ story continue from the house to Pilate’s judgment to the flogging and ultimately to the cross. The courage Jesus displayed and his willing obedience to the Father’s will – even to death – shows in stark contrast who we are and who he is.

I read this week that the actor Mark Wahlberg said that if on 9/11 he had been in one of the planes, the outcome would have been much different. He later apologized, but don’t we do that? Don’t we imagine ourselves the hero in the story? Don’t we picture ourselves as Jesus instead of Peter? This narrative is here to glorify the character of the Son of God. Peter makes Jesus look good.

What does an honest assessment of ourselves reveal? We are just as flaky as Peter. As our church doctrinal statement says, We are sinners by nature and by action. But praise God there is One in the house who is faithful and true, courageous and unbending, obedient unto death. We don’t die for him, he dies for us!

© 2012 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

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1 comment

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  1. tiffany obrien

    Very good!!! I do like your blog and am looking forward to reading more of them. What a blessing!! All the glory to God!!

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