"I Don't Know Him!"

Written on 03/31/2023
Christian Dunn

Verse: Matthew 26:26:69-75

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

I can imagine maybe a little bit of what Peter was feeling in these moments. Fear, confusion, anger, hurt, uncertainty, disgust. He was staying close and waiting, but afraid to be associated with Jesus. Scared and upset for his dear friend and teacher, afraid for himself. He was alone, it seems, without the other disciples. His responses were possibly just knee-jerk reactions, and once he said the words “I don’t know him”, he just dug in his heels. He probably hated himself even while he said it.

Now, Jesus knew this ahead of time, and told him about it. He didn’t have to tell him, but he did. Maybe even that was a gift, a confirmation, a reminder of his Lordship, his true identity. Jesus wasn’t surprised, and he didn’t tell Peter about it to shame him. And he loved him anyway. We act out of our frailty all the time. We snap in anger or react out of fear, we attempt to control things. Others. Situations. I do, anyway. And then I feel ashamed. But Jesus isn’t surprised. He’s not threatened. He knows who he is. He loves me anyway, so deeply and gently. He knows my frailty better than I. And out of his deep, deep love, he meets us in our shame and weakness and covers us. He has always had us covered. I’m still learning how to live out of that overflow and generous coverage.

Lord you know our missteps and blunders and brokenness. None of it comes as a surprise to you. Thank you for all your grace, which pours over us, filling in all our shortcomings, making up for our lack. Thank you for helping us to become the people you designed originally.