Student Thoughts: Unit 4 – Lessons of Peter’s Denial

Here are a few comments from students answering the “Student Thoughts” question from Unit 4, Lesson 3: Why did Peter deny Christ (Luke 22:54-62)? What can we do in our own lives to make sure we do not deny Him (Matthew 10:32-33)?

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Why did Peter deny Christ?  Here is a man who exhibits great boldness.  He is the one that always has a ready answer. He is the one who asked to walk out on the water to Jesus.  He tells Jesus that he would not allow Him to be put to death, and he really meant what he said. Here’s is a man, armed with a sword, who attempts to protect Christ from being taken captive. And, he is told to put away the sword!  Peter was expecting a Messiah that would institute the Kingdom immediately, and all of a sudden things were not going where he had thought.  He had to be very confused, but even so Peter continued to be as close as he dared to Jesus.  He and John were the only ones that we see that did follow along.  Peter was terribly frightened. His leader was having the unthinkable happen to Him, and all this just didn’t match up with Peter’s concept of what was going to occur.  All his bravery was not enough.  He could not rely on his own strength.  Pushed into the corner, he did what is the human thing.  He lied.  He denied Christ.  Something that only a few hours before, he would have thought impossible.  Fear, confusion, and despair, and then the awful knowledge that he had denied the Christ.  We can be very thankful that this is included for us to read and to learn from, because there are vital lessons and warnings for us.  We cannot do what we must do on our own strength.  Our faith and trust must be in Christ and the Father. Things that we encounter don’t always appear as clearly as we would like, and so we have to develop that relationship with Christ and the Father so that we begin to develop the mind of Christ.  Peter’s weakness there gives us hope and comfort because we see that upon his repentance he was forgiven. God extended mercy to him as He does to us upon repentance.  Peter was relying on his own power and strength and he failed just as we will fail if we think that we can do anything right using only our own power.  There may be a time when we will be put to this extreme test, and we have the example of Peter to help us.  It is easy to make God in our own image and have it “all figured out,” but when things don’t work out the way we think, we learn to trust that God know what He is doing, and His way is always right.” – MJB

It seems that Peter was brave enough to follow the mob to the high priest’s house, but without the Holy Spirit, he was not brave enough to risk arrest, or worse, by admitting that he was one of Jesus’ disciples.  God has given us His Holy Spirit, but we must keep it stirred up by obedience to God in every circumstance.  Each time we see the results of this obedience and way of life, it will affirm our trust in God and His ability to perfectly help us in every situation.  Hopefully, we will come to the point that Peter did after he received the Holy Spirit.  After having been arrested, and at the risk of beating or death, Peter answered the high priest’s demand that he and the other apostles stop preaching the Gospel by saying, “We ought to obey God rather than man.”  Then he gave the high priest a scathing rebuke and continued to preach the Gospel.  We too need to “obey God rather than man” in every facet of our lives and thereby make sure that we do not deny Christ.” -TF

Most people will have a “fight-or-flight” response to a life or death situation. We can’t know what we will do until we are in a situation like Peter was in. Having not received the holy spirit yet, Peter was not yet strong enough to give up his life for Christ. Once he received the holy spirit and had it lead him in his life, he was able to stand for Christ and the message of the Kingdom of God at his death. In order to face future persecution, we have to pray for more of the holy spirit. We need to ask for the faith, strength and courage to stand. Our focus must be on what lies beyond this physical life. Faith in the resurrections and the vision of the Kingdom must be more real to us than this temporary life. Our strength must come from Christ and the knowledge of His second coming to rid the world of evil and bring about true lasting peace.” – AL

Read more student responses, or write your own response to the question in our brand new “Student Thoughts” component introduced in Unit 4 of “The Life, Ministry, and Teachings of Jesus Christ”