As previously mentioned, God assures his word of promise will be fulfilled—come to pass. Many of us doubt God’s word can be trusted. If that is you, consider how often Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This means for those that are yet to be fulfilled, we can trust because they’ll eventually come to fruition.
Perhaps you doubt the second coming of Christ. In the apostle Peter’s day, this doubt circulated among many, but he reassured his hearers that God’s patience had a purpose for delaying and thus they should not lose heart.
While Jesus is before his accusers, none of their testimonies corroborated but contradicted each other (vv.53-59). Jesus is on trial not for his good deeds—which would be absurd—but because of “who” he claimed to be (which could seem even more absurd); the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One! Interestingly Jesus affirms his identity before his enemies and points to another future fulfillment of this age:
“…and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (vv.61-62)
Here again is the double edged sword of prophecy being fulfilled: rejoicing for God’s friends, but doom for his enemies. Always, and I mean always, God’s enemies oppose his word, but those who love God and trust him, bank on what he has promised.
God promised Messiah would come, but he did not come in the way the Jews anticipated. Why? The reason is because their Jewish theological system prevented them from grasping who Christ was. This is instructive for us who are settled within a particular theological camp. Sometimes our theology is wrong and needs to be discarded otherwise we won’t be able to see what God has spoken, and we might even become God’s enemies. Christ’s accusers were blind to texts that support the promised Messiah. Thus many of them missed the hour of their visitation.
It’s bad enough his accusers are lying about him, but now the text shows Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends denying him (vv.66-72). This is both embarrassing and heart-breaking. It’s embarrassing because this is one of Jesus’ disciples. If he denies Jesus, why shouldn’t any of us? It’s heartbreaking because there’s a betrayal of friendship here, it’s deep.
To tell Jesus: “You’re wrong”, by saying that, “I (Peter) will never deny you but even go to death with you”, is a foolish stance that proved to be Peter’s downfall. For God’s word of promise can be trusted—even if it means that you will deny him. Another sobering thought is when the final denial leaves Peter’s lips, according to Luke’s account (22:61-62) Jesus:
“…turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had told him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times’”. “And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Peter’s denial has been replicated time and again over the past two millennia in the experiences of God’s frail and yet real children. Pride is ever prowling to pounce on us like a lion overpowers its prey when we don’t trust Gods faithful word, when we don’t watch and pray that we enter not into temptation.
The silver lining here however is that unlike Judas whose grief drove him to suicide, Peter’s heartache produced repentance to life. He turned back to Christ in his lowest moment, not away from him. We’d do well to follow his example friends.