URC Daily Devotion 26 March 2024

St Mark 14: 66 – 72

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by.  When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’  But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed.  And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’  But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’  But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’   At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.


This is one of those Biblical passages that always makes me pause. In many respects there is very little actually written there, and yet the depth of what it contains is challenging and demanding. It asks questions of us, and it demands a response from us as well.

For many of us, when we read this passage, we cannot but help putting ourselves into Peter’s place and wondering how we might have reacted, or responded, if we had been challenged and asked the questions that he was asked. We might, as we initially read the story, be horrified that Peter, of all of the disciples, might so easily turn his back on the one he has proclaimed as the Christ. And yet, as we reflect further, we might recognise just how easily we too turn our backs on our Saviour and, if we are honest with ourselves, we do so without the threats and provocation that Peter faced.

And the trouble is that we always realise what we have done after the fact. It is always something we view with hindsight. This was also the case for Peter, even though he had been given fair warning of what was going to happen. And it leads to one of the great understatements of the Bible.

Each of the Gospels deals with the aftermath of Peter’s denials with a brief sentence that can never fully encapsulate the pain and shame that he must have felt at that moment. And it is a pain and shame that we understand because we have acted in similar ways. Although we haven’t walked in Peter’s shoes, we have walked on similar paths and so we know those feelings of guilt that come when we have let someone down.

Yet despite these feelings, we must remember that there is always the possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness. Although Mark’s gospel may not provide us with the continuation of this particular story, we know from the gospel of John that following the resurrection, Jesus comes to Peter and restores him. This gives us the knowledge that we too can be restored.


Loving God,
thank you for never letting us go.
Thank you that you are not like us,
and will never disown or deny knowing us.
Forgive us our faults and frailties and,
as you did with Peter, restore us,
so that we might be able to serve you
as we respond to your call on our lives. Amen.


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